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Digital Divide and E-Government

The Pew Internet and American Life Project has a new survey Home Broadband Adoption 2008 (PDF, 31 pages) that says “Adoption stalls for low-income Americans even as many broadband users opt for premium services that give them more speed.”

NextGov looks at the report in relation to e-government initiatives. (E-Government’s Tough Nut, by Allan Holmes, Tech Insider NextGov, July 3, 2008.) Some of the problems for a government wanting to interact with citizens online is that many citizens cannot or will not be able to do so. The articles picks the relevant statistics from the Pew report: the percentage of low-income Americans who have a broadband Internet connection dropped from 28 percent to 25 percent; of those that use the slower dial-up connections, almost two-thirds said they had no desire to change to broadband; 27 percent of Americans have no Internet access, with most of those being either elderly or low-income; only 10 percent of the non-Internet users have any desire to become wired. As Holmes says:

These are the hard-core resisters – and there are millions of them. That means if government wants to move ahead with providing more electronic services – including services that may require faster and more robust connections that broadband provides – a large portion of Americans may just not care. And these resisters are exactly the demographics that government tends to serve.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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