2. Special report: The 4 new digital divides
The internet has become a fundamental requirement of modern life. For those with comfortable incomes, living in cities or suburbs, connectivity and information can seem ubiquitous.
Reality check: According to a 2017 report from the Brookings Institution, less than one fifth of Americans live in a neighborhood where at least 80% of the residents have broadband.
- Nearly one-in-five teens are sometimes unable to complete homework because of lack of a reliable computer or internet connection.
- Local news and information is becoming scarce and hard to access. More than 500 newspapers have closed or merged in rural communities since 2004.
What's happening: This situation is the result of two types of “digital divide” operating today:
- A geographic divide —in which rural and other areas are underserved because it doesn’t make financial sense for companies to invest in infrastructure.
- An economic divide — where infrastructure is in place, but lower-income families lack affordable access and devices.
These divides are colliding and combining in troubling ways — creating a whole spectrum of education, information, and privacy inequality.
- Privacy: You pay Google with data, Apple with cash
- The "homework gap": 12 million schoolchildren lack internet
- New inequality trend: How parents approach screen time
- Where the death of local news hits hardest
- The bottom line: Wealth is driving how people get the internet
- What the government is doing on internet access
- Electricity 2.0: Small cities rush to innovate on wifi
- The high price of free Facebook in the Philippines
- What's next: How the online world reflects inequality