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Digital Divide

The five keys to unlocking Internet equity

The five components of Internet equity include accessibility, infrastructure, affordability, adoption and performance/reliability, says the University of Chicago's Nick Feamster.

In his latest return to the podcast, Nick Feamster, director of research for the Data Science Institute at the University of Chicago, shares findings from his team's research that supports the Internet Equity Initiative data portal, which uses Ookla Speedtest data and other data sets to map out Internet inequities.

"This important work shows the disparity of Internet access and performance, as well as a variety of different demographic measures, including race, wealth and education by Census tract," said Ookla in a recent newsletter.

The Internet Equity Initiative deployed Internet measurement devices in over 100 households in Chicago to measure disparities in Internet performance and reliability between low-income and high-income neighborhoods, according to Ookla.

"We're trying to look at how the Internet performs in different geographies and see if that's apples to apples or is there a gap there? The digital divide isn't a benchmarking question, we're talking about a divide – haves and have nots or less haves," said Feamster.

Here are just a few things covered in this podcast:

  • Background on the Internet Equity Initiative (01:40)
  • The five components of Internet Equity (05:40)
  • Comparing digital conferencing tools (11:26)
  • Data and research behind the Internet Equity Initiative (15:53)
  • Conclusions reached based on available data (21:57)
  • Challenges with speed testing (34:21)
  • Preview of upcoming research paper: "Benchmarks or Equity?" (35:21)

Related stories and links:

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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