MSNBC: Bridging the digital divide, cheaply

On Nov. 21, the U.S. Commerce Dept. announced yet another blowout quarter for online shopping. E-commerce sales hit $13.3 billion, rising 6.6% over the prior quarter. That outpaced the overall retail sales growth of 1.6%. Even more impressive, the online tally increased 27% year-over-year from the third quarter of 2002. While online shopping still represents only 1.5% of total retail sales today, Web retailing could grab 10% of the total pie by 2006 if current trends continue. That’s good news for consumers, who increasingly turn to the Web for better prices, better selection, and convenience. Good news, that is, if for those who are well-heeled and computer-savvy. The truth is, the benefits of the Web have disproportionately gone to a class of Americans who are also mostly white and predominantly male. They’re also likely to have college degrees, earn relatively high incomes, live in nice neighborhoods, and use the Internet for online banking.
…For one thing, universal broadband access could make every American a better educated, more efficient consumer in the modern marketplace… (full story)

My spin: What do you think? By giving free broadband access to the poor will that help them? I think not. I could go on, but ths is NOT a political forum so I’ll stop right here.