These usage patterns suggest further that wireless access complements broadband access in different ways for whites and African Americans. Among whites who have ever gone online with a handheld device, some 88% have broadband at home. For African Americans who have accessed the net on a handheld, 64% have broadband at home.
From the vantage point of non-broadband users, reliance on wireless access among African Americans is quite pronounced relative to whites. Among white Americans who do not have broadband at home (that is, they have either dial-up or are not internet users), 6% have accessed the internet on a handheld device. For African Americans without broadband, nearly one-quarter (25%) have used the internet on their cell or Smartphone.
Overall, it seems clear that white Americans and African Americans have somewhat different outlooks on the meaning of online access. For white Americans, online access is likely to occur on a broadband connection at home with a laptop or desktop computer. For African Americans, using the onramp to internet is, in contrast to whites, more likely to be a handheld device on mobile wireless network – and not nearly as likely to be on a wireline home broadband connection. To an extent notably greater than that for whites, wireless access for African Americans serves as a substitute for a missing onramp to the internet – the home broadband connection.