No Internet, no opportunity

As part of a series on the digital divide, PBS noted, “Internet use is now so ubiquitous in the U.S. that not having access or online literacy can create major hurdles.”

In their March 22 segment, Americans Cut Off From Opportunity Without Equal Access to the Internet, correspondent Hari Sreenivasan noted that a lot of Americans don’t have home broadband and, “A disproportionate number are people of color, lower income or with less education.”

Sreenivasan interviewed former FCC official Karen Kornbluh, who observed that there are three kinds of divides:

  • “There's a divide in access to today's technology. And there, we see that a third of Americans don't have access to the Internet, and it's much higher levels for African-Americans, Hispanics, lower-income Americans.”
  • “Then there's access to tomorrow's technology. And what we're talking about there is the very high speeds.”
  • “The third kind [is] education, the divide in terms of digital literacy and access to skills and education. And technology, the Internet should be used to close the divide that we have in this country in education. What we don't want is unequal access to increase the divide.”

Vicky Rideout of VJR Consulting told PBS that while access in schools is important, “... it's at home that you see the biggest gaps in terms of the quality of their access... whether it's used mostly for entertainment or whether folks are taking the best possible advantage of some of the educational content there.”

Click here to read the whole transcript of the broadcast segment.

Americans Cut Off From Opportunity Without Equal Access to the Internet (PBS, Mar. 22, 2013)