Title page for ETD etd-04282010-101710

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Driskell, Luke
URN etd-04282010-101710
Title Mapping the digital divide in neighborhoods: Wi-Fi access in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wang, Fahui Committee Chair
Leitner, Michael Committee Member
Rowe, William Committee Member
  • digital divide
  • wi-fi
  • internet geography
Date of Defense 2010-03-26
Availability unrestricted
The communication made possible by the Internet has leveled the global playing field in some ways, but helped maintain traditional inequalities as well. The “digital divide” refers to disparities in telecommunication access and use from global to local scales. This study uses access point mapping to quantify local Internet access in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A Wi-Fi access point (router) density was obtained and compared to various demographic and socioeconomic attributes in neighborhoods. Fieldwork confirmed the expectation that traditionally disadvantaged groups would have the lowest rates of Wi-Fi ownership, but median household income was unexpectedly less related than race, education, and single-mother households. Results from research following the access point mapping technique can help inform planners in implementing municipal Wi-Fi networks meant to redress the digital divide. It can also be used as a proxy measure for socioeconomic data that are not updated often or are expensive to collect.
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