A survey last May by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that about one-third of people who do not have high-speed Internet or broadband service said it was because service was too expensive. In the District, 41 percent of all homes do not subscribe to dial-up or broadband Internet service, according to an October 2007 report from the Census Bureau.
There are several ideas for tackling this problem. One is grants to build local “hot spots” in public housing units where residents could get free wireless service. Another would be training programs where youngsters are given laptops and pay for offering computer and online training and trouble-shooting to low-income elderly consumers—one of the biggest demographic groups not using the Web, according to Rey Ramsey, president of OneEconomy.com, a nonprofit group that provides technology to low-income communities.
“We’re looking at this as an initial investment on adoption issues, but there’s going to need to be more resources,” Ramsey said.
Bruce P. Mehlman