Originally published: March 1, 2012
Last updated: March 3, 2012 - 3:13pm
[Commentary] An estimated 100 million Americans have no way of accessing the Internet at home. They are on the wrong side of the so-called “digital divide” -- the chasm between those who are connected to technology and those who are not.
Some live in remote areas where broadband service doesn’t exist. Many live in blighted urban neighborhoods, unable to afford a computer, let alone Internet service. But being disconnected isn’t just a function of being poor. These days, it is also a reason some people stay poor. As the Internet has become an essential platform for job-hunting and furthering education, those without access are finding the basic tools for escaping poverty increasingly out of reach. "The cost of being offline is greater now than it was 10 years ago," said John Horrigan, vice president of policy research at TechNet, a trade association representing high-tech companies. "So many important transactions take place online. If you don’t have access to high-speed Internet, you're missing out on a lot."