Keeping Tabs on the Digital Divide

The LinkAge

Weekly Wrap-Up, January 30, 2015

By Frank Buchalski from Dallas, United States (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsBy Frank Buchalski from Dallas, United States (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Google Fiber announced that it is expanding its reach to Atlanta, GA, Nashville, TN, Charlotte, NC, and Raleigh-Durham, NC.

Writing for Wired, Michael Kende explains that the digital divide isn’t binary; we don’t just need to increase access, Kende argues, we also need to increase interest in access.

The Chicago Public Library system will soon offer its “Internet-to-Go” program at three branches in the city. Patrons will soon be able to check-out Wi-Fi hotspots and tablets.

In Salon, Henry Grabar traces the broadband debate across cities in the United States.

This week, in their monthly open commission meeting, the FCC voted to redefine broadband. In order to be classified as broadband, Internet service must now have speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. This is a large jump from the previous definition of broadband, which required speeds of 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload. As expected, cable companies are not enthusiastic about this change. During the meeting, Chairman Wheeler criticized cable companies’ arguments against the change.

This change also presents a new hurdle for the potential Comcast-Time Warner merger. The merger is already on rocky ground. Spencer Woodman reported in Verge this week that letters of support for the merger written by politicians have actually been written by Comcast.

And finally, a report from the United Nations’ Broadband Commission Working Group shows that there is a gender aspect to the digital divide. In response, the Global Fund for Women established IGNITE, a campaign to explore the role of technology in advancing gender equality and establish the digital divide as a women’s rights issue.


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