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The emergence of a digital underclass: digital policies in the UK and evidence for inclusion

Helsper, Ellen (2011) The emergence of a digital underclass: digital policies in the UK and evidence for inclusion. LSE Media Policy Project Series, Broughton Micova, Sally, Sujon, Zoetanya and Tambini, Damian (eds.) Media Policy Brief 3. Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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New evidence shows that a digital underclass is forming in Britain. Although there is some improvement in access, skills and use of the internet among those who have lower education levels and no employment, these groups remain far behind other groups. As the government plans to make public services ‘digital by default’ these individuals will be unable to access them, not because of a lack of infrastructure but because of a lack of (effective) take up of the available connections. Exclusion of these most vulnerable groups has become entrenched. Gaps based on education and employment persist independent of age or other characteristics. They therefore represent a problem that is unlikely to go away even with better infrastructure or as younger generations grow up. These individuals are those that rely most on the government services that are now becoming ‘digital by default’ and will continue to do so. Those who need access to services most, from where the biggest cost savings through the digitisation of services are supposed to come, are the least likely to take these up even when access is available.

Item Type: Monograph (Other)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 The Authors,LSE Media Policy Project
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Identification Number: Media Policy Brief 3
Projects: LSE Media Policy Project
Funders: Higher Education Innovation Fund 4
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2011 15:22

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