Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Cellphones Helping Minorities Close Gap on Internet Access?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Cellphones Helping Minorities Close Gap on Internet Access?

Article excerpt

Blacks and Hispanics seem more likely than whites to use cellphones instead of home computers to get Internet access, a new report finds. Can that help them narrow the digital divide?

Blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to access the Web from a cellphone rather than from an Internet-connected home computer, an indication that they are using the cheaper mobile devices to overcome the so-called digital divide.

That finding, in a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center, by no means implies parity has been reached. Fewer Hispanics and blacks than whites went online last year or owned a cellphone. Two-thirds of adult Hispanics and black Americans went online in 2010 compared with 77 percent percent of white adults. And 76 percent of Hispanics and 79 percent of blacks owned a mobile phone, compared with 85 percent of whites.

The difference in access to technology is more pronounced when it comes to Internet service at home. Forty-five percent of Latinos and 52 percent of blacks have broadband at home, compared with 65 percent of whites.

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The report suggests that Latinos and blacks are opting to access the Internet on their phones instead. Some 6 percent of Latinos and blacks report that they access the Web from a cellphone but otherwise have no Internet service at home, compared with only 1 percent of whites. …

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