Something new to consider as we consider broadband access as a universal right – mobile phones. NPR looks at a recent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project on Mobile Access. Does 3G (and soon to be 4G) speed qualify as broadband access? NPR quotes these stats from Pew
African-Americans and English-speaking Latinos continue to be among the most active users of the mobile web. Cell phone ownership is higher among African-Americans and Latinos than among whites (87% vs. 80%) and minority cell phone owners take advantage of a much greater range of their phones’ features compared with white mobile phone users. In total, 64% of African-Americans access the internet from a laptop or mobile phone, a seven-point increase from the 57% who did so at a similar point in 2009.
Could mobile use be a gateway for people of color to harness more of the broader digital world? Both activists and advertisers believe so.
Are we really going to say a mobile phone equals broadband access? I sure hope not. So many sites still don’t work well on mobile phones, including important ones from the government. I firmly believe that this will result in the sort of second class citizens that the Knight Commission warns us about. Please don’t make me point out the problem of accepting a sub-standard option for minorities.