In the case study done by Emily Hong, the author reports about the digital divide in San Francisco’s Chinatown. While San Francisco has 88% of it’s citizens reported with at home internet access, only 56% of the residents of Chinatown have this same access.
This is not the only case of the digital divide in the United States. This is interesting, because we are supposed to be an incredibly tech savvy and driven nation. In my case study, I wrote about a similar situation in Detroit. The numbers were quite similar. According to Forbes, 4 in 10 residents of Detroit lack broadband access. Detroit is not the only major city with this problem. According to other sources, such as Drexel University, who is helping to tackle this issue,
But for as many as 41 percent of Philadelphians, that’s not the case. Just less than half of city residents lack basic skills and consistent access to connect online with their communities and the economy.
What is interesting about the San Francisco case, though, is that Asian Americans do not typically have the stereotype of being technology illiterate, as Hong points out. In fact, it is the opposite. And while there are many statistics about Hispanics and African American’s having a lack of internet access, these same statistics apparently do not exist for Asian Americans.
Having a digital divide is not just an issue in technology, though. It’s a human rights issue. At least, according to the United Nations, it is. An article by Business Insider reports,
Due to the lack of access and suppressive tactics by certain governments, the United Nations (U.N.) has declared that “online freedom” is a “human right,” and one that must be protected.
Without internet access, citizens of America are unable to apply for jobs. Students are unable to finish homework and do research for projects, therefore resulting in falling behind in school.
Luckily, there are some things that we can do in our own country to help fix this problem, In fact, there are some things that are already being done. Comcast is already making strides towards a solution.
n 2011, Comcast launched Internet Essentials, one of the most ambitious and comprehensive programs ever developed to bridge the digital divide for families lacking Internet access at home. The initiative aims to help low-income families overcome the primary barriers to broadband adoption.
If a family meets the requirements, they are able to get internet at a reduced cost that they can afford so that their children do not suffer the consequences of the digital divide.
Hopefully, more companies start programs similar to this, so that internet truly will be a human right.