In Buffalo’s ‘Digital Deserts,’ More Than Half Of Households Lack Internet
The digital divide looks like Buffalo’s Broadway Market on a Friday afternoon: a dozen round tables thronged with lunchgoers – and nary a laptop or tablet among them.
Most households in this neighborhood don’t own such devices, new first-of-its-kind federal data show. And even fewer have the means to go online with them, either at the Broadway Market or in their own homes.
The data, released by the Census Bureau last month, expose for the first time the true depths of the digital gap in the region: While 80 percent of households in Erie and Niagara counties are online, low-income pockets of Buffalo, Lockport and Niagara Falls have fallen off the grid.
The disparities are starkest on Buffalo’s East Side, particularly in the Broadway-Fillmore district, where fewer than two in five homes have internet on some blocks. The new numbers come at a time of mounting alarm among city and school officials, who have called for more aggressive policy action to address disparities they say could deepen poverty in the region.