The Digital Divide in the US has made improvements in recent years, however, certain indicators such as race and income levels still show large disparities in access to IT.
According to the Pew Internet Project, there is still a difference in the U.S. among different demographic groups for access to high-speed broadband at home. One in five Americans do not use the Internet; groups will low Internet usage include senior citizens, interviewees who preferred Spanish, adults that had less than a high school education, and households earning less than $30,000 per year. The main reason these groups did not use the Internet is that they did not think it was relevant to them. Twenty-seven percent of adults with a disability were less inclined to use the Internet(Zickur, Smith, 2012).
The rise of mobile telephony and smart phones are changing the dynamics and are giving more adults access to the Internet. Forty-five percent of all Americans own a smart phone. As of April 2012, 55 percent of adult cell phone owners accessed the Internet from their phones (Brenner, 2012).
Broadband access has become cheaper in recent years as the technology advances and access expands throughout the U.S. In 2010 a report found that on average users paid $40.68 per month for broadband access. In 2013 the average price of a broadband connection per month in the U.S. was $20. Globally, the average price of broadband was 115 percent of GNI per capitaPer unit of population. Per capita energy consumption, for example, is the amount of energy that is used on average by each person in a given country., three years ago, it is now only 40 percent. Still, in 2012 the U.S. lagged behind other developed countries with 119 million people without access to the service. The slowing growth of broadband and the fact that providers are moving away from a wireline infrastructure with a preference for wireless initiatives will hurt the access of broadband to rural and less developed parts of the U.S (Molla, 2012).
The current adoption rates of broadband in the U.S. at 196.7 million or 62 percent have ranked it 15th globally in terms of adoption rate per capitaPer unit of population. Per capita energy consumption, for example, is the amount of energy that is used on average by each person in a given country.. However, the adoption of Google Fiber recently which boasts speeds of 1 gigabit per second, has promised to help deliver access of high speed internet to rural areas cheaply, using fiber optic cables over traditional delivery methods, this has pushed existing providers to improve or face competition from Google.
The use of IT has increased among all American population groups, regardless of income, education, race or ethnicity, geographic location, age, or gender. Groups that have traditionally fallen behind as new information and communication technologies have spread (rural populations, African Americans, women, and Hispanics) have been making dramatic gains in narrowing the digital gap. African Americans and Hispanics are twice as likely to be able to access the Internet than they were 20 months ago. Women have closed the Internet usage gap with men, and the disparity between these two groups is now negligible.
|Some Quick Facts About Internet Use by Americans