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Almost Half of Detroit Residents Don’t Have Broadband Internet

According to a new report from the New York Times, about 40% of Detroit’s citizens do not have broadband access to the Internet — even though the FCC has attempted to make the service more available across the country.

According to FCC data, Detroit has the highest rates of Internet accessibility issues out of any major city in the country.

This “digital divide,” as coined by Mark Zuckerberg, has been frequently cited as a major factor in a person’s ability to succeed. For instance, job searches have long since moved off the classifieds page and onto the Web.

Internet access is also vital in other areas of life. Currently, four out of five consumers shop on phones, making web-based retail extremely important.

Facebook’s service, Free Basics, is an effort to bring people online, especially in emerging markets where the Internet might not have been readily available.

The FCC has a similar stance on access to the Internet. It announced the National Broadband Plan, which is attempting to connect the million around the country.

The agency has said that their efforts should “stimulate economic growth, spur job creation, and boost America’s capabilities in education, health care, homeland security and more.”

Although Detroit has rebounded from the downturn in the automobile industry, with unemployment falling to 11% in February, it is still feeling the effects of the troubled economic times. With poverty still high, people aren’t always paying for Internet access.

The next move for the FCC initiative and organizations like Free Basics might be to provide free Wi-Fi hotspots. Many places in major cities like New York have funding to build free Wi-Fi hotspots for residents.

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