Report on NTIA's "Falling Through the Net"

You won't read Falling Through the Net: A Survey of the "Have Nots" in Rural and Urban America for its prose. But you will want to keep it on hand for its reference value. Falling Through the Net, published by the U.S. Department of Commerce in July 1995, is a collection of statistics recounting the discouraging numbers of who does - and who doesn't - have access to computer technology and the Internet.

For those working in community computing, it provides valuable information needed to make the case that the technology gap exists. It also recognizes the role community access centers need to play in addressing the information and technology gap.

The principal source for the statistics is the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS). Responses were crosstabulated in the areas of income, race, age, education and region, and by three geographic categories¾rural, urban and center city. The questions included looking at the percent of U.S. households with a telephone, with a computer, with a computer and a modem, and using online services.

The survey numbers support what many already know: that information havenots are disproportionately found in our country's rural areas and central cities. Income is a clear indicator as to whether a household has a computer. 7.6% of central city residents and 4.5% of rural residents with a household income of less than $10,000 have computers. Almost twothirds of all households earning $75,000 annually have computers. Other findings include: ·