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Policy Brief: Emergence of a Digital Underclass

Policy Brief: Emergence of a Digital Underclass

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Published by lsemediapolicy
Dr. Ellen Helsper presents research showing evidence for the emergence of a digital underclass in the UK.
Dr. Ellen Helsper presents research showing evidence for the emergence of a digital underclass in the UK.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: lsemediapolicy on Jul 21, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/21/2011

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The Emergence of a Digital Underclass
Digital Policies in the UK and Evidence for Inclusion
Ellen J. Helsper 
London School of Economics and Political Science Department of Media and Communications 
media
 
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LSE Media Policy Project: Media policy brief The Emergence of a Digital Underclass 
Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank all those who have given feedback on this briefand its previous iterations for their useful comments, in particular Zoe Sujon,Sally Broughton Micova, Damian Tambini, Sonia Livingstone and AlisonPowel.
 
Special thanks also to Dorota Kaczuba who has worked on the Dossieraccompanying this brief and to Saskia Scheibel who has done the work forthe graphs presented in this brief. The LSE Media Policy Project is funded bythe Higher Education Innovation Fund 4.
LSE Media Policy Project Series EditorsSally Broughton Micova, Zoetanya Sujon and Damian Tambini
Creative Commons copyright licence, Attribution-Non Commercial.This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially,and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial,they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
July 2011.LSE Media Policy Project. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/mediapolicyproject/ 
 
 
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LSE Media Policy Project: Media policy brief The Emergence of a Digital Underclass 
Key Messages
o
New evidence shows that a digital underclass is forming inBritain. Although there is some improvement in access, skillsand use of the internet among those who have lower educationlevels and no employment, these groups remain far behind othergroups. As the government plans to make public services ‘digitalby default’ these individuals will be unable to access them, notbecause of a lack of infrastructure but because of a lack of(effective) take up of the available connections.
o
Exclusion of these most vulnerable groups has becomeentrenched. Gaps based on education and employment persistindependent of age or other characteristics. They thereforerepresent a problem that is unlikely to go away even with betterinfrastructure or as younger generations grow up.
o
These individuals are those that rely most on the governmentservices that are now becoming ‘digital by default’ and willcontinue to do so. Those who need access to services most,from where the biggest cost savings through the digitisation ofservices are supposed to come, are the least likely to take theseup even when access is available.

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