Broadband adoption gap narrows, but many are still left without access

A new report by the National Urban League Policy Institute reveals that the broadband adoption gap between African Americans and whites is narrowing - having dropped in half from 19% in 2009, to 8% in 2010.

Nonetheless, one-third of Americans still don't have access to broadband service at home. And researchers note the results might be tempered because increased access to a broadband connection in black households may come from expanded use of handheld wireless devices including smartphones.

FCC Chairman Julias Genachowski called the report "a good sign" but noted that "we can't afford [to have] one third of Americas sitting on the sidelines."

Genachowski also called digital literacy "increasingly essential in the job market" and noted that the number of jobs requiring technology skills is expected to grow as much as 75% in the next decade. "Without digital access and digital literacy," he said, "finding and landing a job is virtually impossible in this country.

The report also indicates that focusing on a new FCC initiative connecting broadband with jobs could help further close this gap.

Report: More African-American homes using broadband (The Hill, May 2, 2012)

Broadband Gap Between Blacks, Whites Narrows, Study Finds (Bloomberg, May 2, 2012)