American University Investigative Reporting Workshop


Why Everyone isn’t Connected in a Wired D.C.

Declan Jewell / Flickr

D.C.’s digital divide is no longer about lack of access to high-speed Internet — it’s about people not signing up, a new study finds.

An American University Investigative Reporting Workshop study, published Thursday, shows that although nearly all of D.C. is wired for high-speed Internet access, there are entire neighborhoods with extremely low adoption rates, meaning very few households are signed up for service. John Dunbar, the study’s author, says the District’s “very deep” divide “absolutely has to do with wealth.”

“If you have a low income, you just don’t subscribe,” he says. “If you look at the city, it’s an adoption divide. It’s really obvious and it’s really disturbing.”

The study breaks down broadband adoption rates by Census tract, rating connectivity on an ascending scale of 1 to 5. An interactive map (see below) details connection rates, Internet providers and income levels for each Census tract:
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