Internet and Inequality – The Digital Divide Gets PersonalAccess to fast, reliable Internet empowers people to learn for themselves. It gives them the means to solve their own problems. It eliminates one of the obstacles that stands in the way of the oppressed knowing how others have freed themselves in the past. Unfortunately, we found that low-income areas with the most to gain from access to the world’s knowledge, continue to lag behind in Internet speeds. On average, states whose populations are made up of people with lower incomes living in rural areas are likely to have the slowest Internet speeds. In order to gain a greater understanding of the role of wealth in regards to Internet speeds, we compared average Internet speeds for all 50 states with several financial factors.
Financial indicators correlated with average Internet speeds by state.digital divide and GDP. The likely explanation for these huge correlations internationally as opposed to the smaller correlations from state to state is that there is such a huge variation in both categories from nation to nation. The variation of GDP per capita across the nations for which we have data was over $100,000, while the same variation across the states was just under $40,000. There was a similarly gargantuan gap in the variations in the percentages of populations using the Internet. That variation across our international data set was 94.91 percent, but it was only 24 percent across our state data. Improving Internet Speed is Important It seems fitting that the population element plays a large role in the data. A population is made up of individual people. The importance of research like this lies in the effect it can have on individual people. The Internet has the opportunity to be the great equalizer in our world. It creates a gateway to an enlightened global society and, as we’ve shown before, it relates to people’s intelligence and happiness. Unfortunately, individual financial factors seem to limit Internet access and speed. As communities across America decide whether they should publically fund Internet infrastructure, they have the opportunity to make a statement about the importance of high-speed Internet. By understanding the cultural environment of the Internet, we can all work to remove the barriers that keep people from accessing the wealth of knowledge the Internet provides. Just as knowledge is power, enlightenment is empowerment. Data Sources http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/gsp_newsrelease.htm http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-budget-year-end-balances-2012-2013.html http://www.nasbo.org/resources/states-proposed-enacted-budgets#UT http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/compare_state_spending_2014b20a http://kff.org/state-category/demographics-and-the-economy/ http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/ http://cwa.bluestatedigital.com/page/-/SPEEDMATTERS/Publications/2010SpeedTestReportFullFINAL.pdf?nocdn=1 Find John on Google+
John Dilley continually offers unique insights and a fresh point of view. He writes for several websites including CableTV.com and HighSpeedInternet.com. Along with writing, John has a passion for music. He is the lead vocalist and secondary guitarist for The Family Gallows in Salt Lake City. John also shares his personal ideas and philosophies through stories he publishes on his blog, JDilley’s Questions.