COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – During a visit to Benedict College, Vice President Kamala Harris described the internet as a ‘basic necessity’ or the majority of Americans.

“Every day, in communities across our nation, students who have affordable access use the Internet to do their homework,” said Harris. “Parents use the Internet to order groceries.  Seniors use the Internet to see a doctor without having to leave home.  And small-business owners use the Internet to buy inventory, to manage the payroll, even to run their cash register.  The Internet is an essential part of everyday modern life.”

The vice president visited Columbia on Monday to advocate for expanding affordable, high-speed internet across the country.

During her visit, she announced a nearly $3 million investment in Claflin University in Orangeburg and a $3 million investment in Benedict College, which will allow more students to access the internet for school work.

More than 24 million American households still do not have access to high speed internet either due to high costs of access or a lack of availability, especially in rural areas.

In 2022, the Office of Regulatory Staff’s South Carolina Broadband Office estimated there are about 181,715 households in South Carolina without access to high-speed internet.

During her speech, Harris highlighted stories of students who sit in restaurant parking lots in order to access wireless internet for their homework and seniors who have to visit a library in order to speak with their doctor over the internet.

“Let us be clear: In America, in the 21st century, every person, no matter where they live and no matter how much they earn, should have high-speed Internet.  It is simply a necessity,” she said.

Last week,  South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and Congressman Jim Clyburn met with state officials to discuss efforts to expand broadband access to South Carolinians.