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Digital Divide Broadens with Broadband

Accessing the internet is too expensive for many, not just in rural areas but also in cities.
August 9, 2017, 11am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Expensive internet is not just a rural problem. "The Bronx has only 35.3 percent access, and Manhattan fares only slightly better with 35.6 percent access; Clark County, Nevada, home to Las Vegas, has 39.1 percent access," Clare Malone writes for FiveThirtyEight. The fact that in much of America less than half the population has access to the internet at home is an issue of equity, "Without that knowledge and exposure, a person is likely to be further marginalized in economic and educational opportunities, caught in a cycle of literal and metaphorical disconnection," Malone writes.

Cities are looking for ways to make the internet more affordable for their citizens, but it's difficult to bring down prices in an industry where companies like Comcast and AT&T face so little competition. Still, cities like Washington, D.C. are implementing programs to reach out to those who may not be online. "The Connect.DC initiative works to provide computer courses and subsidize internet access and devices in order to bridge a divide that many worry holds back a skills-based economy and diminishes the opportunities of significant parts of society," Malone reports.

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Published on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 in FiveThirtyEight
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