Digital divide: Blacks and Latinos lag behind

    New study shows that African-Americans and Latinos utilize the Internet half as much as others.
    Within these communities, only about half of the population frequently surfs the Web. Nine hundred Blacks and Latinos were surveyed about their Internet usage and the results were presented at gathering hosted by the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), a group that seeks to close the digital divide and bring broadband access to low-income communities.
    "To me that’s a serious issue and we need to delve a little bit deeper," IIA Co-Chairman David Sutphen told "Is that concern, a lack of understanding about the technology, is it a price-point issue or some combination thereof?" By contrast to the African-American and Latino communities, most of the American general public has "some form of access" to the ‘Net, David said.
    "I think it’s a kind of an all-hands-on-deck approach at this point," he said about closing the gap. "For the first time, you have an administration committed to a national broadband plan. The goal is to come up with policy that will facilitate universal broadband. "

    But while our communities may be behind in overall ‘Net consumption, David affirms that we are ahead of the curve when it comes to mobile technology. "You now have a situation where African-American and Hispanic consumers actually over-consume wireless connectivity," he said.
    "Once you get connected, everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status or ethnic background or race, appreciates the value of being connected. If it’s your cell phone that gets you connected first, you can check your Facebook page and that leads you to get a Netbook and sign up for broadband at home and take better, or fuller, advantage in your office, and take care of your traffic ticket. There are so many efficiencies that come with it."



    –Whitney Teal




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