The Public Policy Institute of California released its annual statewide survey of Californians and Information Technology today, and the findings are once again noteworthy.
Key findings of the survey include:
- The use of mobile devices to access the Internet is accelerating—Californians are twice as likely to use mobile than they were just 3 years ago. Californians are still most likely to connect from their desktop, but 40% now connect via a mobile device.
- The use of cell phones to go online has increased across racial and ethnic groups. Today, 57 percent of blacks (31% in 2008), 43 percent of whites (18% in 2008), 41 percent of Asians (24% in 2008), and 32 percent of Latinos (16% in 2008) say they have accessed the Internet this way.
- Across racial and ethnic groups, Latinos (55%) are the least likely to have a broadband connection (74% blacks, 76% Asians, 81% whites) or to use the Internet (70% Latinos, 85% blacks, 86% Asians, 92% whites).
- Californians are more connected than the national average: Californians in the PPIC survey are more likely than U.S. adults in a recent Pew survey to have Internet access (76% to 68%) or a broadband connection at home (72% to 61%).
- A majority of Californians say people without broadband connections are at a major (62%) or minor (20%) disadvantage when it comes to finding information about job opportunities or gaining new career skills. Across racial and ethnic groups, blacks (71%) and Latinos (68%) are more likely to say that people without high-speed Internet access at home are at a disadvantage (62% Asians, 57% whites). Californians 18 to 34 years old (70%) are far more likely than those over age 55 (49%) to hold this view.
"The growing use of cell phones for accessing the Internet is changing the way that Californians relate to work, and this trend also has promise for reducing the digital divide,” says Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO.
Interesting segment this morning on NPR's Morning Edition on how the mid-term elections may affect the battle between the FCC and the telcoms over Net Neutrality and the Obama administration's Broadband for All efforts.
The FCC has released it's plan to increase broadband access to under served areas. The National Broadband Plan was discussed on the March 19th edition of NPR's On the Media program.
(The program may take a few seconds to load)
On a related note, a federal appeals court has ruled today against the FCC's plan for "Net Neutrality."
According to the story in the New York Times "Consumer advocates said the ruling, one of several that have challenged the F.C.C.’s regulatory reach, could also undermine all of the F.C.C.’s efforts to regulate Internet service providers and establish its authority over the Internet, including its recently released national broadband plan."
While it ain't over 'til it's over - this ruling is a clear illustration of a point made in the On The Media piece. Why do most major industrialized countries have wider access and at higher speeds? "In other countries, when the government asks the telcoms to do something, they do it. In the U.S., when the government asks the telcoms to do something, they sue."
The Public Policy Institute of California has completed a new survey on Californians and Information Technology.
The survey finds that while Internet usage in California contines to grow, gaps in access to technology in rural areas and among Latino communities are still present. The findings take on new importance in light of the Obama administration's initiative to expand broadband access in rural areas as part of the stimulus package.
You can download PPIC's study from their website.
And you can watch a video of the presentation of the findings.
Does "Yes We Can!" apply to broadband for all?
President Barack Obama campaigned on widening broadband access to underserved and rural areas; and there now is talk about including this effort in the economic stimulus package.
There is an interesting post in today's Bits blog in the New York Times technology section about that very topic.