Connection discrepancies: Unmasking further layers of the digital divide

Elizabeth Davison, Shelia Cotten

Abstract



In assessing the integration of the Internet into society, scholars have documented that certain sectors of the population are disadvantaged by their lack of access to computer resources. The disadvantaged have traditionally included the less educated, non-whites, females, the elderly and lower income people. Scholars are now beginning to address differences in Internet experiences among Internet users, but most studies fail to account for the type of connection people use to access the Internet. The purpose of this study is to expand the level of information surrounding Internet connections. This study finds that (1) most Internet data sources fail to ask questions about types of Internet connections; (2) broadband users experience the Internet differently; and, (3) in determining who is likely to spend more time online, the type of connection is more important than other digital divide demographics such as education, race or gender. Subsequently, those engaged in the exploration of our Internet society should start controlling for how Internet users connect to the World Wide Web.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v8i3.1039



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