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Source: PHOTO: Chris Davis/Emmis

STATEWIDE–The concept of the digital divide has evolved over time. A lot of that has to do with your internet service.

Vice President for Engagement at Purdue University Roberto Gallardo says the digital divide used to be broken down by whoever had access to broadband digital services and those who do not.

“But now we’re looking at people who have internet with high speeds versus people who may have internet access, but it’s very slow, unresponsive, and it loses a lot of packets of information,” said Gallardo.

Gallardo says white people have a higher share of home broadband subscriptions while the minorities were lagging behind, but there’s a wrinkle to that.

“When we looked at broadband Internet download and upload speeds compared to subscriptions. We realized that as the share of white, non-Hispanics increased, both download and upload speeds decreased,” said Gallardo.

While Gallardo says his team of researchers is trying to figure out why the data is coming up that way, but their hypothesis is that white, conservative people are generally more distrustful of the Internet. Gallardo says that is what most polling data indicates.

“Why that may be the case, we don’t know. Future research is going to have shed light on it,” said Gallardo.

Rural areas and minority groups are also struggling with the digital divide, says Gallardo.

To see Gallardo’s full comments, click here.