Six out of 10 African Americans and Hispanics use their cellphones to get onto the Internet, a greater portion than for the overall adult population, according to a report by the Pew Research Center released this week.
Experts say the reasons for the high adoption rates are numerous. Ethnic minorities are often first-adopters of new technology. Cities such as Washington have become giant hot spots, with free Wi-Fi connections in public libraries, community centers, bookstores and coffee shops. And a phone with a flat-rate data plan -- while still expensive for many -- is more affordable than a $1,000 computer and monthly broadband connections of more than $50 a month.
"There is a value proposition with a single device with a single payment plan that allows you to make phone calls, connect with friends with text messaging and enter into a broader online world," said Aaron Smith, author of the Pew Internet & American Life Project report.
And although wireless Internet connections have their limitations, cellphones and laptops are recasting the access issue for minority and low-income communities that have been disproportionately left behind as Facebook, Wikipedia and Skype become fixtures in homes and at businesses. Read More