WJR Business Beat: The Internet’s Power Is Strong, But Digital Divide Remains (Episode 400)

In today’s Business Beat, Jeff Sloan talks about the importance of the Internet in our lives and our businesses and how some are being left behind because of the digital divide.

Tune in to today’s Business Beat to learn more about who’s being left out:


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Good morning, Paul! Every now and then, we witness major change in business and in society, the industrial revolution and the personal computer are such examples of major sea change. Without question, one of the most significant of these events is how the Internet has reshaped our lives almost entirely as it relates to business. What was already under foot with migration of business to online prior to the pandemic, simply accelerated significantly as a result of the pandemic. How significant is the Internet today as defined by access? Well, it’s projected that the Internet will have four and a half billion users worldwide this year. That’s up about 3% over last year. And this amounts to an astounding 58% of the general population, including all ages of every human on the planet, having access to and using the Internet. In North America, it’s nearly 90% of the population that’s connected. However, according to a Pew Research Center survey, nearly 1 in 10 Americans still don’t have access to the Internet and don’t use it at all. While access to technology is nearly ubiquitous for wealthy Americans, about 4 in 10 adults with lower incomes do not have home broadband services or even a desktop or laptop to facilitate their connection. How can this digital divide as it’s known still be a factor today? Well, Internet non-adoption is linked to a number of demographic variables, but is strongly connected to a couple of key variables, one being age, with older Americans continuing to be one of the least likely groups to use the Internet today. About 25% of adults over 65 don’t use the Internet at all. Level of education is also another factor as some 14% of adults with a high school education or less, again, do not use the Internet. Now we are making incremental progress to continuing to narrow the gap between the haves and have-nots, but as every aspect of our lives from education to entertainment, to shopping into our businesses, continues to depend more and more on access to the Internet, it’s certainly unfair and un-American to leave certain demographics behind. I’m Jeff Sloan, founder, and CEO of startupnation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

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