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California’s digital divide still gaping

Groups call for broadband access as digital divide persists

digital-divideAraceli Barron, the bilingual mother of three young children in Sunnyvale, has seen California’s digital divide up close. Until recently, the family had no internet access at home and as more and more schoolwork required an online presence, her sixth-grade daughter was starting to fall behind.

“In January we finally got internet and it’s made a huge difference in all my kids’ grades,” said Barron, whose household income is not much more than $20,000 a year. “And that’s really helped my kids’ self-esteem.”

Despite living in the tech-rich heart of Silicon Valley, Barron and her children have straddled a stubborn gap between the state’s digital-haves and have-nots that shows little sign of closing anytime soon.

According to a statewide Field Poll, broadband adoption rates have stagnated over the past few years, with access by Latinos, seniors and others lagging behind that enjoyed by younger adults and those with higher incomes.

(Next page: How the digital divide puts students at a severe disadvantage)

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