Smartphones help those without broadband get online, but don’t necessarily bridge the digital divide

By Monica Anderson and John B. Horrigan, Pew Research Center

October 3, 2016

Courts and regulators have increasingly seen high-speed internet as a public utility that is as essential to Americans as electricity and water. But many Americans still do not have broadband at home, and some Americans have turned to mobile devices as their primary gateway to the internet, according to Pew Research Center surveys.

But whether smartphones are an adequate substitute is open to question. Those who depend on their smartphones to go online encounter constraints with data caps and small screens, and the device is not their “go to” tool for personal learning at home.

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