Oftentimes, many people hear the phrase “digital divide” and envision the differences in technological access between those in the developing world vs. those in the developed world. However, a digital divide exists within our own nation, and spans over various subjects.
- Infrastructure and Geographic Region: according to the infographic, approx. 100,000,000 U.S. homes do not have access to broadband. This lack of broadband is mostly in rural areas, where they lack the infrastructure, such as towers, to bring them access.
- Race: According to the above picture, race plays a huge role in the access to technology. For instance, whites dominate internet access, while minorities have less access to the internet by approx. 20%.
- Income: Unsurprisingly, more wealthy households (with higher incomes), have greater access to the internet, while poorer households (with lower incomes), have less access to the internet.
What is most surprising in this image, however, is not only what it reveals about the digital divide within the United States, but also what it reveals about the U.S. in relation to other nations.
- Higher Costs: In relation to other countries, the United States ends up paying more money for the same, or similar products. For example, FIOS in the United States costs 6X as much as fiber optic in Hong Kong. This is often caused by a lack of competition (96% of Americans have access to two or less providers) leading to fewer options for consumers and higher prices.
- Internet Access: In relation to other countries around the world, the United States ranks 12th in internet access.