The Broadband Digital Divide and the Benefits of Mobile Broadband for Minorities

Pepperdine University, School of Public Policy Working Papers, Paper No. 45

50 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2013  

James E. Prieger

Pepperdine University - School of Public Policy

Date Written: April 1, 2013

Abstract

This study sets out the facts regarding broadband deployment and usage in the US and the particular promise of mobile broadband for minorities. Fixed broadband is nearly ubiquitous and most people have access to four or more mobile broadband providers. Growth in fixed broadband usage is leveling off, while mobile broadband usage growth remains robust. Blacks and Hispanics generally have fewer fixed broadband options but more mobile broadband providers available. Gaps in broadband usage overall (fixed and mobile combined) for minorities persist and are quite large. Matching estimators show that lagging broadband adoption among minority groups is not fully accounted for by demographic and economic characteristics. Mobile broadband holds particular promise for minorities regarding social, medical, and economic inclusion, and these communities have relatively greater reliance on mobile forms of broadband. Two important findings are that 1) blacks are more likely to access the Internet using a mobile phone than whites (after controlling for demographic differences between the groups), and 2) there is no significant gap in mobile broadband usage between minorities and whites by either of the two measures of usage considered. These results can set the backdrop for discussion of US broadband policy.

Keywords: digital divide, digital inclusion, broadband deployment, broadband usage, kernel matching estimator

JEL Classification: J15, R22, L96

Suggested Citation

Prieger, James E., The Broadband Digital Divide and the Benefits of Mobile Broadband for Minorities (April 1, 2013). Pepperdine University, School of Public Policy Working Papers, Paper No. 45. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2258081 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2258081

James E. Prieger (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University - School of Public Policy ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States
3105067150 (Phone)
3105067494 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/a/pepperdine.edu/jprieger/

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