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Digital CitiesThe Internet and the Geography of Opportunity$
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Karen Mossberger, Caroline J. Tolbert, and William Franko

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199812936

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812936.001.0001

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Mobile Access and the Less-Connected

Mobile Access and the Less-Connected

(p.63) 4 Mobile Access and the Less-Connected
Digital Cities

Karen Mossberger

Caroline J. Tolbert

William Franko

Oxford University Press

Rising rates of mobile phone use among minorities has raised questions about whether technology disparities are disappearing with the popularity of wireless technologies. For most, smart phone use is a supplement to home broadband; yet about 4 percent of the population accesses the Internet primarily through cell phones. This group tends to be low-income, less-educated, young, African-American, and Latino. Controlling for other factors, smart phone users are significantly less likely than those with home broadband to engage in activities online, including human capital enhancing activities for work, health, education, and government services. Like others who are “less-connected”—Internet users who depend upon public access or slow dial-up, mobile-only users also demonstrate less knowledge about the Internet. This chapter provides empirical support for the importance of home broadband access for digital citizenship, or the ability to participate in society online.

Keywords:   mobile access, smartphones, inequality, African American, Latino, poor, internet, urban, cities, digital citizenship

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