Contact: Bill Buck
(202) 482-4883

Sallianne Fortunato
(202) 482-7002

Tuesday, July 28, 1998



Washington, D.C. -- Despite the significant growth in computer ownership and overall usage in America, the gap between information "haves" and "have nots" widened in the last three years, with Black and Hispanic Americans lagging even further behind White Americans in computer ownership and on-line access, according to a report released today by Commerce Secretary William M. Daley.

"This study exposes a growing problem in our economy, one that must be taken seriously: too many Americans are not able to take part in the growing digital economy," said Secretary Daley. "The growing trend of information 'haves' and 'have nots' is alarming. We must continue to reach out to underserved communities through programs like the E-Rate and TIIAP grants and aggressively work with community and business leaders to seek solutions to this problem."

The E-Rate will allow schools and libraries to establish connections to the Internet at discounted rates. Grant programs like TIIAP allow communities to bring technology to other central locations.

The "digital divide" between certain groups of Americans has increased between 1994 and 1997 so that there is now an even greater disparity in penetration levels among some groups. "The data demonstrates that there are still pockets of 'have nots' among low-income, minorities, and the young, particularly in rural areas and central cities," said Secretary Daley.

Findings of the report include:

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"Falling Through the Net II underscores President Clinton's commitment to connect all American's to the information infrastructure," said Larry Irving, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and administrator of NTIA. "The data shed greater insight on recent trends in telephone and computer usage, which should assist policy makers as they consider steps to connect all Americans to the Information Superhighway."

The report contains the most recent and comprehensive Census data available on telephone penetration and computer on-line access. Copies of the report are available on NTIA's web site at, or by calling Matt Wallach, NTIA Public Affairs, at 202-482-3999. Secretary Daley's press releases and speeches are available at

The Commerce Department's national Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) serves as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications and information issues and represents the Executive Branch before Congress, other Federal agencies, foreign governments and international organizations.