The Digital Divide

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The current Internet revolution provides amazing opportunities for entry-level professionals, college students, and entrepreneurs, but as the Infographic below shows, it is leaving a number of America’s financially disadvantaged in its wake.

In looking at the presented income divides, racial divides, city vs. rural divides, and U.S. vs. world divides, we can see huge disparities in accessibility and affordability of broadband Internet. We are presented with some statistics that seem unbelievable to most of us in the Internet industry.  If the current trend continues to grow as it is, do you think technology of the future will spawn an elitist, new generation of savvy users, while the rest of the nation becomes extinct in the tech world? Some research suggests that while the technology evolves, the ease of access and use continues to adjust to the target market – iPads have been great learning tools for young as well as senior citizens, so if the continuation of new developments are accessible enough to a wide consumer-base, the learning curve will not be too severe. It’s just a matter of costs.

Despite unprecedented Internet growth, 100,000,000 US homes still lack broadband access, and this ‘digital divide,’ falls along several lines. In 2010, computer and Internet use and household income were compared. Over 50% of those with an annual income of less than $25,000 had no Internet access. By contrast, an income of $100,000 or more left only about 5% without Internet access. Additionally, only 55% of black homes even have access to Internet.

When we look at the differences in the cost of Internet access in the US and abroad, it’s easy to see why accessibility is so limited to the disadvantaged. America is the world’s richest company, but ranks only 12th for Internet access. Verizon FiOS in the US costs 5X as much as it does in Paris, and 96% of Americans have access to only one or two providers. This limits competition, and allows the providers to charge rates that are inaccessible to America’s poor. Check it out for yourself.

Digital Divide
Created by: Online IT Degree

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