Highlights in Obama’s Budget

National Journal
Eliza Krigman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Eliza Krigman
March 4, 2014, 3:16 p.m.

A new Com­merce De­part­ment re­port on U.S. house­holds and ac­cess to high-speed In­ter­net ser­vice has found us­age gaps that fall along ra­cial lines, which of­fi­cials say can­not be ex­plained by in­come and edu­ca­tion levels alone.

“An Afric­an-Amer­ic­an house­hold with the same in­come and edu­ca­tion level as a white house­hold is still less likely to have broad­band ac­cess,” Re­becca Blank, Com­merce’s un­der­sec­ret­ary for eco­nom­ic af­fairs, said today in re­leas­ing the re­port. “That find­ing is quite strik­ing, and it’s not something we ex­pec­ted to see.”

The re­port, “Di­git­al Na­tion II,” is the “most com­pre­hens­ive ana­lys­is of broad­band us­age,” avail­able, Blank said in a con­fer­ence call with re­port­ers. To pro­duce the re­port, the de­part­ment, in col­lab­or­a­tion with the Na­tion­al Tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions and In­form­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion, ana­lyzed data from the Census Bur­eau’s In­ter­net Us­age Sur­vey of 54,000 house­holds col­lec­ted in Oc­to­ber 2009.

“What the ana­lys­is shows is that we must have very tar­geted pro­grams for spe­cif­ic pop­u­la­tions,” said Lawrence Strick­ling, as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary for com­mu­nic­a­tions and in­form­a­tion, who par­ti­cip­ated in the call.

When asked what might ex­plain the di­git­al di­vide between races, Blank said that it’s im­port­ant to not en­tirely dis­count the im­pact of edu­ca­tion and in­come, and that a “whole set of his­tor­ic­al reas­ons” may help ex­plain why some groups have little pres­ence on the In­ter­net. Be­ing on the Web is closely re­lated to wheth­er your friends and fam­ily are there, he ad­ded.

Con­trolling for so­cioeco­nom­ic factors, the broad­band ad­op­tion gap between races per­sisted, the re­port said, and also broke along on urb­an and rur­al lines.

The ad­op­tion gap between rur­al and urb­an house­holds is 7 per­cent; between non-His­pan­ic whites and non-His­pan­ic blacks, the fig­ure is 10 per­cent.

Over­all, sev­en of 10 house­holds used the In­ter­net in 2009; nearly one-fourth of all house­holds did not have an In­ter­net user.

Lack of af­ford­ab­il­ity, need, in­terest, ad­equate equip­ment, and avail­ab­il­ity were the primary reas­ons stated for not hav­ing broad­band ac­cess at home. Un­sur­pris­ingly, house­holds that did not use the In­ter­net at home but re­por­ted us­ing it else­where ranked af­ford­ab­il­ity as the primary obstacle to home ad­op­tion. In con­trast, non-In­ter­net users first and fore­most cited lack of need or in­terest.

A macro-view of the data re­vealed that broad­band use is grow­ing rap­idly, of­fi­cials said.

Between 2001 and 2009, In­ter­net use rose sev­en­fold, from 9 per­cent to 64 per­cent of Amer­ic­an house­holds. Some groups with lower-than-av­er­age ad­op­tion rates made sig­ni­fic­ant gains but not enough to close the ad­op­tion gaps with­in demo­graph­ic groups defined by in­come, edu­ca­tion, race, eth­ni­city, and age.

House­holds mak­ing less than $25,000 a year made a twelve­fold leap in broad­band ad­op­tion, from 3 per­cent to 36 per­cent from 2001 to 2009; that’s a much faster clip than among house­holds mak­ing more than $75,000 year, but still not enough to close the con­nectiv­ity gap — 36 per­cent com­pared with 92 per­cent in 2009. That trend per­sisted among oth­er groups, the study found.

Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion Chair­man Ju­li­us Gen­achow­ski praised the NTIA and the Com­merce De­part­ment for their work.

“The NTIA’s new re­port provides an in-depth look at the per­sist­ent gaps between the di­git­al haves and di­git­al have-nots,” Gen­achow­ski said in a state­ment. “Clos­ing these gaps is one of the top pri­or­it­ies of the FCC’s na­tion­al broad­band plan and a key fo­cus of the agency.”

What We're Following See More »
WILL THE DINNER HAPPEN?
Trump To Skip Correspondents Dinner
40 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Saturday that he would not attend the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in April. The move did not come as a surprise, another moment in his ongoing battle with the media, which he has dubbed the "enemy" of the American people and repeatedly refers to as "fake news." Multiple outlets have already cancelled their events surrounding the dinner and several are considering skipping the event outright.

FOLLOWS ARMY SECRETARY
Navy Secretary Nominee To Withdraw
40 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

Phillip Bilden, Donald Trump's nominee for Navy secretary, has decided to withdraw his nomination after he was unable to sufficiently untangle his financial commitments. Bilden follows Vincent Viola, who withdrew his nomination for Army secretary.

Source:
FBI TURNED DOWN REQUEST
Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Many Signatures Has the Petition for Trump’s Tax Returns Received?
3 days ago
THE ANSWER

More than 1 million, setting a record. More than 100,000 signatures triggers an official White House response.

Source:
TIED TO RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
Sen. Collins Open to Subpoena of Trump’s Tax Returns
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login