So, how online is the USA today?

Well, it depends on your income and education, really. Check the chart below. It also has something to do with your age and your race as well.

The new FCC report, released last week, showcases the “digital divide” that persists in America. With unemployment undoubtedly having gone up since the FCC’s report was written, I imagine the “divides” would be more dramatic if we saw a chart depicting today. When you’re trying to cut expenses, digital cable connections can seem a luxury. 
It nicely breaks down the non-connected among us (though, not really, since they’re not going to read this, right?), putting them into nifty categories. See how many you recognize.  The federal government officially characterizes them as the:

Digitally Distant: 10% of Americans who are generally older, and have found no use for the Internet, or don’t own a PC.

Digital Hopefuls: 8% of Americans who would like to subscribe to broadband, but can’t afford it.

Digital Uncomfortable: 7% of Americans who have computers, and can actually afford broadband, but lack the skills to take advantage of either.

Near Converts: 10% of Americans who use dial-up, and refuse to pay the $40+ subscription fees for broadband. Their median age is around 45, and they tend to rely on broadband at work for online activities.

So wake up, people! If you listen to the missionaries of Barack Obama’s administration, you’ll see arguments for calling an Internet connection one of the basic infrastructure services that American society now expects. Get with the program. It’s like the “electrification programs” of the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Unless you’re Amish, you probably enjoy such technological “givens” as phone connections, a power grid, and sewage systems. This is no different, goes the argument.
Some of the benefits of the National Broadband plan enumerates on its site
  • education (happily, number one)
  • culture (so, maybe you don’t care for that, but then there’s…)
  • entertainment (how can they not want that?)
  • telehealth, and telemedecine (you don’t want to be “telesick” do you, Luddite?)
  • economic development (who wants to stay poor?)
  • government access (it’s your democracy, man!)
  • public safety/homeland security (unless the powergrid undergirding the Internet goes down, in which case…?)
In time, and barring unforeseen occurences (pretty foolish, that), the logic of broadband expansion will take over, and we’ll have connectivity from sea to shining sea. Until then, we can be Broadband ambassadors, and carry the torch to our benighted third, maybe invite them over for some free Internet based entertainment.  
Seen any good lectures on Ustream lately? Or what about a TED lecture? That might convince them.

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