Rising mobile Internet use could create new digital divide_itworld.com

A new Pew Research report is confirming the trend that more people than ever are using cell phones to access the Internet instead of desktop PCs and other devices and shows how the current digital divide is being bridged… and a new one could open.

The report’s findings show that 55 percent of cell phone users use their phones to go online, and of that group 31 percent use their phone the most to go online.

“That works out to 17% of all adult cell owners who are ‘cell-mostly internet users’–that is, who use their phone for most of their online browsing,” the report stated.

The use of cell phones for online use seems to be set along income and racial lines, as well.

“Half (51%) of African-American cell internet users do most of their online browsing on their phone, double the proportion for whites (24%). Two in five Latino cell internet users (42%) also fall into the ‘cell-mostly’ category,” the report read. “Additionally, those with an annual household income of less than $50,000 per year and those who have not graduated college are more likely than those with higher levels of income and education to use their phones for most of their online browsing.”

If these results are indeed representative of the population, it would mean that the so-called digital divide, where those with poorer incomes are not be able to access the Internet or use local software because they can’t afford a computing device, may be getting bridged through alternate means.

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