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The Racial Digital Divide Persists

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The Racial Digital Divide Persists

FP,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Address systemic racism to close the digital divide.


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8

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The report Digital Denied was released in 2016 and analyzed how racial discrimination impacts access to wired broadband internet services. While income is the largest factor, low-income households are disproportionately Black and Hispanic. Research into the “digital divide” favors analysis of the urban-rural divide. For racialized communities, barriers to home internet are higher costs and credit checks. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made the situation even worse by deregulating the industry to allow internet service providers (ISPs) to monopolize the market, reducing competition. Such systemic racism must be addressed to eliminate the digital divide.

Summary

People of color face obstacles to wired broadband services due to systemic racism.

In the Free Press’s report, Digital Denied, S. Derek Turner discovered that, among low-income households without home-internet services in the United States, more than half are people of color. Policy makers insist that marginalized communities “simply don’t understand the value of broadband” rather than address systemic racism. However, research indicates that there is a “high demand” for home-internet services in these groups.

The obstacles people of color face are:

  • Unaffordability – Home-internet services are more expensive...

About the Author

Dana Floberg is the associate director of broadband policy at Free Press.


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