September 14, 2020 (RISC-WP-20-007)
- At a time when the Internet has become vital for telework, distance learning, and telehealth, more than 18 million Americans lack access to broadband service.
- Several potential partnership opportunities would allow the Postal Service to help bring high-quality broadband to unserved and underserved areas in the U.S.
The Internet has dramatically changed numerous aspects of our daily lives. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it has played a critical role in allowing Americans to work, learn, and even access health care from the safety of their homes. But according to the Federal Communications Commission, more than 18 million Americans currently lack basic broadband service. With a physical presence in nearly every community in the country, the U.S. Postal Service is uniquely situated to play a role in helping bring 5G and broadband service to those areas of the country currently unserved or underserved.
The OIG found there are several potential partnership opportunities that would allow the Postal Service to help bring high-quality broadband to areas where it is currently lacking. These would include colocation of critical infrastructure at Postal Service facilities, positioning them as digital hubs and leveraging USPS resources to collect valuable data about broadband coverage in remote areas. Such an undertaking would serve to further cement the Postal Service’s already critically important role in American life.