What is the digital divide, and how can we bridge it?

The digital divide has come to the center of attention during the last two years. The pandemic exposed the gaps in internet service with the need to work from home and go to school virtually. As a result, it’s more apparent that the internet has become a must-have for our daily lives. However, many people still don’t have access to high-speed internet, leading to inequality. Because of that, the digital divide is something we are working relentlessly to close. Today, we’ll define the digital divide and how we’re acting to bridge it. 

What is the digital divide?

The digital divide is the gap between those who can use technology and those who cannot. It’s a problem that has been around for years, but it’s come into the spotlight more recently with the pandemic. In addition, the need to suddenly work from home or do virtual school has exposed the gaps in internet service for many people.

The internet has become critical for modern life, but many people still don’t have access to it. An estimated 42 million Americans can’t purchase broadband internet for reasons ranging from financial, geographic, and service limitations. The lack of access to the internet divides society and limits opportunities for those who don’t have the internet. Because of this, we are working relentlessly to close the digital divide, and today we’ll share what it is.

Factors that Impact the Digital Divide

Cost

Internet and computer devices can be expensive, putting them out of reach for many people. As inflation rises, 64% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Extra expenses like high-speed internet can be the difference between food on the table or not. At Race, we offer affordable high-speed internet to help combat the digital divide. 

Race and Ethnicity 

Race can also impact the digital divide. Minorities are more likely to live in poverty, with 25.4% of Native Americans and 20.8% of African Americans living in poverty, nearly doubly the poverty rate of their white neighbors (10.1%). Living in poverty undoubtedly makes it harder to afford internet and computer devices. Additionally, areas of high poverty typically don’t have access to the same quality of education. This lack of quality can often limit a school’s ability to use and teach technology.

Education 

When the pandemic hit and schools went virtual, more than a quarter of K–12 students (29%) lacked reliable internet access in spring 2020, leaving them without a path forward to learn. However, many school districts or parents in higher-income areas were able to provide students with the tools necessary to succeed. Unfortunately, this left a gap in the education in communities that were not well-funded, leading to a less than quality education. We need to ensure everyone has access to quality education and the technology to make it possible. 

Location 

Your location also plays a role in access. Many rural areas of the country still do not have access to high-speed internet. Geographical location played a big part in the problems with accessibility during the pandemic as people who lived in rural areas struggled to work from home or do virtual school. According to the Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults, roughly seven-in-ten rural Americans (72%) say they have a broadband internet connection at home. 

How does it affect society?

The digital divide affects society in several ways. In short, it creates unfairness and limits opportunities for those who don’t have the internet. Let’s explore how it does this further. 

Social Isolation

The divide can lead to social isolation. People without the internet are cut off from communication and information easily accessible to others. 

Limits Job Opportunities

The digital divide has a significant effect on the workplace. In today’s job market, increased computer skill levels are a prerequisite. However, the demand for these skills creates unfairness in society and limits opportunities for those who don’t have them. 

For example, many job applications are online, so you’re already at a disadvantage if you don’t have internet access. In addition, having the money to have a computer with a webcam and high-speed internet to work from home on zoom calls presents a barrier to entry. 

Impacts education 

25% of students lack an adequate internet connection. The lack of access became a glaringly obvious problem during the pandemic when kids across the country moved to virtual learning. Unfortunately, many homes were not set up with the equipment or internet services to make a move to online learning. However, that isn’t the only challenge. Many homework assignments now utilize the internet leaving kids behind who don’t have access. 

What is being done to close the digital divide?

At Race, we’re committed to closing the digital divide and ensuring everyone has access to the internet. We’re doing this by working with government, industry, and community partners to:

  • Increase access to affordable broadband
  • Improve digital literacy
  • Connect people in underserved communities

We know that we can’t close the digital divide alone, so we’re working with our partners. Here are some ways we are working together to bridge the divide. 

California Advanced Services Fund (CASF)

The California Public Utilities Commission has helped bridge the digital divide through the use of the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) since 2008. CASF helps bring broadband to underserved and unserved communities throughout California, aiming to close the digital divide. The goal is to close the digital divide by bringing broadband to 98% of households in each consortia region by December 31, 2022. 

Internet Act For All 

The Internet Act For All was reintroduced in the house on 3/11/2021. The act will make high-speed broadband internet service accessible and affordable to all Americans. In addition, the bill will provide discounts on broadband for low-income consumers and subsidize the internet for schools and libraries. The Internet Act for All is a significant step forward to bridge the digital divide. 

Computer Literacy Training 

Many cities, libraries, and companies offer free digital literacy training to bridge the divide. These classes work to give everyone foundational skills that will help achieve equity at school and work closing and is a pivotal part of eliminating the digital divide. 

How Race is Working to Bridge the Digital Divide 

Race is dedicated to providing reliable, accessible, high-speed internet by building new fiber networks and infrastructures. We worked to bring our fiber optic networks to underserved or unserved communities so they can have equal access. 

Race Communications works with the California Public Utilities Commission and other advocacy groups to build new networks in these communities. Race has received California grants to cover up to 60 percent of construction costs, including the labor, equipment, and materials required to bring fiber or cable internet to a region; however, it does not include operational costs. 

Final Thoughts

The digital divide is a problem that has been around for years, but it’s come into the spotlight more recently with the pandemic. The need to work from home and participate in virtual school exposed the gaps in internet service for many people. At Race, we’re working hard to close the digital divide and ensure everyone has access to the internet. Closing the digital divide will create more opportunities and a better society. 

Race Communications Supports Mentoring with a Silver Sponsorship of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area  

In April of 2022, Race CEO Raul Alcaraz paused during his board meeting to see an email plea from his outside counsel, a former Big Brother Big Sister board member. The email asked if Race could be a corporate sponsor of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area Gala. The non-profit mentoring organization was one sponsorship shy of its Gala goal, its primary fundraiser of the year. Raul immediately stepped up to the plate and became a Silver Sponsor of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala held on April 22nd in San Francisco. 

The Silver Level sponsorship allowed Race Communications to fund seven matches of volunteer Big Brothers and Big Sisters with their Little Brother or Little Sister in the Greater Bay Area, forever changing the lives of these seven underprivileged children. One in four of the children this program serves has a parent who is incarcerated. Additionally, 72 percent come from single-parent households, and the overwhelming majority (90%) are low-income. Single parents often struggle to provide financially for their families and have less time to be present in their child’s life. Due to this, these children are exposed to greater adversity such as gang activity, crime, and substance abuse. They have the potential for greatness but need a special role model and friend that they can trust.    

The Big Brothers Big Sisters program matches a carefully screened and background checked adult mentor (a “Big”) with an enrolled child (the “Little”), and they commit to meet twice a month for a year. The Big and Little share everyday activities, like doing homework, sharing a pizza and movie night, taking hikes, shooting hoops, attending sporting events, going to the zoo, or sightseeing. Match Specialists from Big Brothers Big Sisters check in periodically with the volunteers to offer resources, advice and lend a listening ear. Often the Big-Little matches last years, and they become “family.”  

Studies of the program show that these enrolled children gain confidence, their grades improve, and they drop out of school less than similarly situated underprivileged children. It is clear that just having a caring adult in their life can make all the difference in the world. Big Brothers and Big Sisters also provide scholarships and grants for camping or playing an instrument to children who have participated in the program.  

Race is proud to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area because it is consistent with our past community activities, such as school backpack giveaways and giving trees for families affected by the devastating wildfires. Race Communications serves its communities by providing an essential service, ultra-fast gigabit broadband, and taking care of those who are less fortunate in these difficult times.  

In addition, Race salutes the volunteer adult mentors in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area program and thanks them for giving their time to these children.  

What in the world is an NFT, and How Do You Get One?

By now, you’ve probably heard the term NFT buzzing around the internet. But what is an NFT, and how can you purchase them? If you’ve found yourself scratching your head when you hear the term NFT, you’re in luck. This article will define NFTs, their history, how to buy them, and showcase some of the most famous examples. Let’s get digital!

NFT - Bitcoin

What does NFT stand for? 

Non-Fungible Tokens 

What is an NFT?

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) are interchangeable digital assets traded over blockchain technology. They are generated and traded in cryptocurrency, a digital cash with an encrypted key. This means that every NFT is recorded into the blockchain and is one-of-a-kind. 

You can think of NFTs as virtual collectibles used to represent different things online. For years the most popular use of NFTs has been in digital gaming, but the usage is greatly expanding into the mainstream. Recently, more artists and brands have used this medium to showcase and monetize their art. 

Can anything be an NFT? 

NFTs are digital assets. They can be videos, digital art, music, and more. Anyone can create an NFT, including artists, corporations, and influencers. We’ve only just begun to explore the opportunities for NFTs, and we will continue to see them evolve.

Source: McCoy Space

How did NFTs get started?

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) started around 2014 when Kevin McCoy minted “Quantum.” However, NFTs gained popularity in late 2017 when CryptoKitties was released. This digital collectibles game allowed users to breed and trade digital cats using the cryptocurrency Ethereum. Since then, NFTs have exploded in popularity, gaining the attention of the masses, and are becoming more mainstream. In fact, in the first half of 2021, NFT sales were reported at $2.5 billion

How do NFTs work?

NFTs are created and stored in the blockchain when a user purchases them with cryptocurrency. They can then be traded or sold to other users online. Each NFT is unique and can’t be interchanged with another item, making it perfect for digital collectibles. Sometimes, NFTs can also appreciate in value, though that is not guaranteed. 

How can you purchase an NFT?

If you’re interested in purchasing an NFT, you need a few things before getting started. First, you’ll need to create a digital wallet where you’ll store your virtual currency. There are many different wallets available, so be sure to do your research before choosing one. Below are some of the most common. 

NFT - Digital Wallets

Source: Coinbase 

Common Digital Wallets

Coinbase

Coinbase makes it easy to buy, sell, and manage crypto from anywhere in the world and is available in over 100 countries. Seventy-three million users trust this digital wallet. Coinbase supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and protects your assets with industry-leading security.

Edge

Edge combines cutting-edge security and a user-friendly platform to provide Edge Wallet. Available in 249 countries, Edge supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and more. Within the wallet, you can seamlessly trade between digital currencies and assets on the go. Everything you need is in one app. 

Jaxx Liberty

Jaxx Liberty allows you to manage dozens of cryptocurrencies from hundreds of countries safely. Jaxx supports popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum and will enable you to track your top 100 assets, compare prices, and follow trends all within the app. Additionally, Jaxx Liberty’s news module lets you stay on top of everything with daily blockchain headline news and updates. 

Next Purchase Cryptocurrency

Once you have a wallet, you will need to purchase some cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is a digital asset that uses cryptography to secure its transactions. Cryptocurrency is decentralized, meaning it isn’t regulated by any government or financial institution. 

You can purchase cryptocurrency through an online exchange or from another individual selling it. Be sure to do your research before buying any cryptocurrency, as the prices can be volatile. After you’ve got your digital wallet and cryptocurrency, you’re ready to start purchasing NFTs!

Now that you know a little more about NFTs let’s check out some famous examples.

Popular Examples of NFTs

NFT - CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties is a game that allows you to breed and collect creatures called CryptoKitties. Every cat is one-of-a-kind and 100% owned by the person who purchases them. This game is one of the first and one of the most famous examples of NFTs. 

BMW Museum of Sound

The Museum of Sound NFT is a series of art that depicts the sounds of the engines using a data visualizer. To create this NFT, 19 customer cars came to the Dubai Autodrome and were rigged with high-fidelity microphones to capture the essence of this well-loved engine. 

The sounds were then turned into Non-Fungible Tokens and minted for the owners.  BMW Blog explains the inspiration behind this “A BMW M engine sound is something so unique that fans all over the world get goosebumps whenever they hear their roar,” commented Serviceplan Middle East creative director Andre Couto. “Museum of Sound came as an idea to immortalize these sounds and these feelings so the future generations can appreciate these masterpieces as unique NFTs that we gave to the most valuable BMW M fans, the owners.”

NFT - E.l.f. cosmetics

Source: Global Cosmetics News 

E.l.f. Cosmetics 

E.l.f. took some of its most popular beauty products and transformed them into NFTs to give their fans a piece of the brand. The creations dubbed “Ne.l.f.Ts” were exclusive, with only nine released. 

The NFTs were digital replicas of their most famous products dipped in gold, including 15HR Camo concealer and Ride or Die Lip Balm. In addition, they priced the NFTs at the same price the affordable products would go for at retailers keeping up with the brand’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. 

Final Thoughts 

NFTs are a new and exciting way to collect and trade digital assets. Currently, we see NFTs mainly used for art. But, as the world becomes more digital, these non-fungible tokens are becoming increasingly popular, and there is a lot of potential for other uses. What’s your favorite NFT? We at Race Communications want to know so sound off in the comments below!

42 WiFi Terms You Need To Know If You Have Wireless Internet

Do you understand wifi terms, or does it sound like another language? Our glossary of terms will help you learn essential WiFi terms you need to know, explaining the technical mumbo jumbo, abbreviations, and common acronyms you will run into when discussing wireless internet. 

Below you’ll find the common and not-so-standard WiFi terms, so you’re ready for any conversation. Let’s explore!

WiFi Terms

Access point – Base station device for a wireless network that allows wireless devices to connect to a network. Access points can increase the range of your WiFi. 

Antenna – A device used to send and receive radio waves. Any device that sends or receives wireless signals needs to have an antenna. Usually, they are internal and not visible. 

Bandwidth – A term to describe the amount of data transmitted over a connection. Typically, bandwidth is measured in bits per second or megabits per second.

Base Station – A radio receiver or transmitter that is the component of a wireless LAN that acts as the hub of a wireless network or serves as the bridge between the wired network and the wireless clients. 

Bridge – a device that connects two or more LANs or networks and allows them to share resources. For example, wired internet to wireless. 

Channel – A specific frequency range that a wifi network operates in. 

Client – Any device that uses wifi to connect to a network such as a smartphone, or laptop.

Coverage Area – the area in which a wifi signal can be received by devices.

DHCP – Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol- is the protocol used by routers to assign IP addresses dynamically to devices on a network so they can communicate. 

DNS – Domain Name System- The decentralized system used to translate the English domain names we see in web browsers into numerical IP addresses

DSL – Digital Subscriber Lane – The connection runs over phone lines which can be used for both DSL and voice communication. It is available for both residential and commercial use.

Dwell Time – The length of time that a user or device is connected to WiFi 

Encryption – A process of transforming readable data into an unreadable format so only the sender and recipient can read it for data protection and security.

Ethernet – A popular type of computer networking technology that supports wired internet connections over distances up to 100 meters. Most commonly, ethernet connections utilize Cat5 or Cat6 cables. 

Firewall – A protective security device in the form of software or hardware that monitors traffic to and from your device. Firewalls can block or allow data based on set security parameters to stop hackers or viruses. 

Frequency Bands- WiFi frequency bands are frequency ranges within a spectrum that carry wifi. Frequency is the number of times a waveform repeats in one second (the higher the frequency, the faster data transmits). 

GHz – gigahertz- a unit of frequency equal to one billion hertz.

Hotspot – access points that allow you to connect to WiFi networks using devices while away from your home network. Some hotspots are publically accessible wifi networks. 

Intranet – a private restricted network that uses wifi to connect devices within an organization that users can share and store information within the private network. 

IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers- this is the professional organization responsible for developing WiFi standards.

Interference – Any type of energy that can affect the operation of a WiFi network, sources include wireless microwaves, baby monitors, and other neighboring networks. 

IoT – the Internet of Things, a network of physical devices that are connected to the internet

IP Address – Internet Protocol address- this is a unique identifier address assigned to every device connected to the internet. IP addresses consist of a series of numbers used to communicate over the internet. 

ISP – Internet Service Provider- a company that provides access to the internet.

Kbps – kilobits per second- a unit of data transfer rate equal to one thousand bits per second.

LAN – Local Area Network- A network of devices in one physical location or wifi network such as in an office or school.

Mbps – megabits per second – a unit of data transfer rate equal to one million bits per second.

MIMO – multiple-input, multiple-output – a wifi technology that uses multiple antennas to improve performance and transfer more data simultaneously. 

Mesh network – Multiple routers that work together to create a wifi network to provide better coverage in larger spaces like homes or offices. 

Net neutrality – the principle that all data on the internet should be treated equally, regardless of its source or destination. Meaning the internet service provider needs to give all content, and sites the same speed and conditions. 

Packet – A small unit of data that is sent over a network. Each package includes a source and destination plus the content.

Ping – Is a signal sent used to test the reachability of a host on an IP network. Commonly they are sent to measure response times or see if the host is available. 

PSK – Pre-Shared Key- a wifi security key that is shared between the user and the network. It consists of 8 to 63 characters. 

Repeater – A device that amplifies the signal of a wifi network and rebroadcasts it. 

Router – A device that allows your computer or other devices to connect to the internet. Routers connect your local home network to the internet then forwards data packets between devices.

SSID – Service Set Identifier- this is the name assigned to a wifi network. In simplest terms, a WiFi network name distinguishes it from other surrounding networks. 

Sticky Client – a wifi device that is configured to connect to a specific access point that no longer provides strong coverage when better access points are available.

TCP – Transmission Control Protocol- One of the main protocols used by the internet. TCP uses a suite of communication protocols to connect network devices. 

VoIP – Voice over IP- a technology that allows voice conversations to be transmitted over an IP network.

WAN – Wide Area Network-  Any WiFi network that covers a large geographic area, such as a city or region connecting other local area networks. 

WiFi – Wireless Fidelity- this is the common name for the 802.11 family of wifi standards.

WPA, WPA2, WEP – Wi-Fi Protected Access- A security standard used to protect devices with a WiFi connection using encryption and user authentication, created by the Wi-Fi Alliance. WPA2 is currently the standard.

WiFi Terms – It’s a Wrap! 

There you have it, the definitive list of WiFi terms! Bookmark this page and keep it handy. If you ever need to look one up, you’ll be glad you did. 

Did we miss a term you wanted to know? Comment and let us know. We’ll add it in future updates! 

Moving to Lancaster, CA? Everything You Need Is In This All-Inclusive Guide

Are you moving to Lancaster, CA? Then this blog is just what you need to make your move a success. Lancaster, CA is one of the best places to live in the US. It’s located just north of Los Angeles, nestled in the western Mojave desert’s Antelope Valley. 

Recently. The growing city recently claimed a spot on the Top 100 Places to Live. Livability awarded Lancaster a spot due to its thriving economy, a community rich in culture and diversity, and dedication to environmental protection. In addition, this growing city is one of the more affordable places the golden state offers, and the sun is always shining.

In case you haven’t heard, Race Communications is excited to bring our network and high-speed fiber internet to Lancaster in the fall of 2022. In celebration of this, we are bringing you a guide to moving to Lancaster. Here are some helpful tips and everything you need to know about moving to Lancaster. By the end of this blog, you’ll feel like a local! 

Moving to Lancaster, CA Poppy Field

Population

Lancaster is currently home to a population of 160K residents (give or take). 

Weather

Lancaster is in the Mojave desert. The hot season ranging from June to September is hot and arid, with daily temps rising well into the 90s. Winter lasts from late November to March, with mild daytime temperature in the 60-70s, dropping at night into the 30s. 

Cost of Living 

Compared to most cities in California, Lancaster is a relatively affordable place to live but still only 73 miles outside of LA. The median household income is $55,237, and the median home price is $385,400. This price may seem high to some moving from other areas but keep in mind that California has a median home price of $834,000, so it’s much lower than the state average!

Moving to Lancaster, CA Sustainability

Sustainability Practices

The city has been working towards a more sustainable future since 1994 when the City Council adopted the Blue Skies Program and a resolution to use alternative fuels whenever possible. Ever since these programs came into place, the city has continued to develop environmentally friendly practices. 

To date, 22% of the city’s fleet of cars and pickups run on alternative fuel. Lancaster also practices water conservation by implementing xeriscaping and other ordinances to combat water wasting and encourage minimum water use. The city has won many awards for its efforts, including the prestigious World Energy Global Award.

moving to Lancaster, CA school districts

Lancaster, CA School Districts 

There are three major school districts in the city: the Lancaster School District, Eastside Union School District, and Antelope Valley High School District. Each district provides outstanding educational opportunities. 

The Lancaster School District spans 82.5 square miles, most of which lies within the city of Lancaster. The district is home to more than 15,000 students from preschool to 12th grade. Their mission is to provide a relevant, high-quality education within an inclusive and culturally respectful environment that prepares all students for personal and professional success. 

Eastside Union School District is Antelope Valley’s older school district. The district goes by the vision “Everyone contributes, every student achieves.” This school district is much smaller than other districts consisting of four elementary schools, one middle school, and one transitional learning center. However, the district is growing and excited about its future. 

Antelope Valley High School District is unique because it only consists of high schools. The district is made of eight traditional and three alternative high schools, plus SOAR, the early college high school on the Antelope Valley College Campus. The district also has online learning programs. There are 23,000 students in this district from Palmdale and Lancaster. Antelope Valley’s vision is to make sure every student who graduates will be prepared to pursue college and any career they aspire to. 

Moving to Lancaster, CA The BLVD

Things to Do 

There are many activities and places to see right in Lancaster. Let’s explore a few of our favorites below. 

The Famous California Poppy Festival

Lancaster is well known for the California Poppy Festival, which is set to return after two years with an even bigger event lasting three days to celebrate the vibrant state flower. The festival will boast live entertainment, amusement park rides, and activities for the whole family. 

Saddleback Butte State Park

If you’re a nature enthusiast, this next destination is for you. Saddleback Butte State Park is located in the high-desert just fifteen miles east of Lancaster.. In the state park, you’ll find Joshua Trees, desert plants, and animals surrounding the Saddleback Butte. In addition, the state part provides areas for hiking, camping, and 360-degree views of Antelope Valley and the Mojave Desert. 

The Lancaster Museum of Art and History 

Head to the Lancaster Museum of Art and History if you appreciate art. The museum holds a collection of over 10,000 artworks and artifacts, many of which celebrate the history of Southern California. MOAH also produces community-oriented programming that engages diverse audiences. Additionally, check out the Lancaster Performing Arts Center provides world-class entertainment to the city’s residents and is the largest performing arts center in Antelope Valley.

Hit the BLVD

The BLVD Cultural District has been the heart of culture in Antelope Valley since the 1800s. Packed with colorful murals and rich history, the district is home to innovative green initiatives, including electric vehicle charging stations and solar waste compactors. This bustling district is also home to a growing number of events, including weekly farmers’ markets and concerts. In addition, there are many locally-owned businesses and exciting restaurants to experience on the BLVD! 

Close Proximity to Major SoCal Cities

While Lancaster has a lot to keep you entertained, the city is also close in proximity to many other urban hubs. For example, Los Angeles is only 2 hours away, and San Diego is about 3 hours away. If you want to head to the ocean, Santa Monica Beach is the closest. Need a family getaway? Disneyland is just 2.5 hours away! 

Final Thoughts

Lancaster is a great place to live. It’s a thriving city full of things to do, great local culture, and is close to other major destinations in California!

If you are moving to the city and in need of reliable and fast internet, inquire now to join our waitlist! We’d love to help take your internet services to the next level. Contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 or send us an inquiry to be the first to know when Race is available in your part of town!