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San Antonio's 'Digital Divide' Among Worst in the USA

San Antonio's 'Digital Divide' Among Worst in the USA

  These days, if you want to anything from pay a bill to work from home to watch a movie on Netflix, you jump onto your Internet broadband connection.

 

  That is, if you live in the 'right' part of town.

 

BROADBAND ACCESS MAP: 

 

  A new report from the Open Technology Institute says San Antonio and Austin are two of the cities with the biggest 'technology divides' in the country.

 

  If you live on the city's north side, on a military base, or in Alamo Heights or Terrell Hills, chances are that you have broadband Internet in your home.  Those areas have broadband penetration from 80% to 100% of homes.

 

  But the closer you get to the city's west and south sides, the less likely broadband Internet is to penetrate homes.  Many census tracts in the south and west sides have 20 percent broadband penetration, and in the 78207 area code, which is the shallow west side, that number is, in many neighborhoods, zero.

  "The Internet is as important as paying your electricity, and having running water to your home," said DeAnne Cuellar, who advocates for broadband access in San Antonio.  "It really is."

 

  The importance of broadband Internet penetration, according to the OTI, is because broadband Internet is becoming 'more of a utility than a luxury.'

  "I think that companies who we rely on to get a job are looking at something that's called 'ubiqitous connectivity," Cuellar said. 

  That means people without broadband service will continue to fall behind, because their kids won't learn and they will be unable to get jobs.

 

  "It is the ability to participate fully in a society which is moving increasingly on line," the report concludes.

 

  The digital divide in San Antonio is important because it allows people to better their financial situation by working from home, it enables students to more fully participate in on line learning, and it makes a neighborhood attractive for employers.

 

  As Google Fiber considers San Antonio for super high speed Internet connection service, the status of the city's digital divide will certainly be an issue.

 

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