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Connection Disparities: The Importance of Broadband Connections in Understanding Today's Digital Divide

Connection Disparities: The Importance of Broadband Connections in Understanding Today's Digital Divide
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Author(s): Elizabeth L. Davison (Appalachian State University, USA) and Shelia R. Cotton (University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 13
Source title: Handbook of Research on Overcoming Digital Divides: Constructing an Equitable and Competitive Information Society
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Enrico Ferro (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB), Italy), Yogesh K. Dwivedi (Swansea University, UK), J. Ramon Gil-Garcia (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico) and Michael D. Williams (Swansea University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-699-0.ch019

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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 physical access to computer resources. The disadvantaged have traditionally included the less educated, nonwhites, females, the elderly, lower income people and third world citizens. Scholars are now beginning to go beyond basic issues of access to address differences in Internet experiences among Internet users. However, few digital divide researchers focus on the importance and impacts of the various types of connections people use to log onto the Internet. Among U.S. Internet users, we examine which is more important in determining Internet use, the traditional digital divide factors or type of connection. This study examines a wide range of online activities that provide vital information and services for Internet users. We find that connection disparities explain more variance in time spent online engaged in essential tasks, than most other long-established digital divide measures.

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