Broadband to the Neighborhood: Digital Divides in Detroit

Voiced by Amazon Polly

51 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2018

Bianca Reisdorf

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte – College of Arts & Sciences; Michigan State University – Quello Center

Keith Hampton

Michigan State University – Quello Center

Laleah Fernandez

Michigan State University – Quello Center

William H. Dutton

University of Southern California

Date Written: January 16, 2018


This reports on the results of a study of Internet (non)use in three neighborhoods of Detroit, Michigan. The study was conducted by the Quello Center at Michigan State University, working in collaboration with the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University, which administered telephone interviews with 525 residents. Support for this research was provided by Rocket Fiber, a Detroit-based Internet company.

This research involves a survey of three neighborhoods in Detroit to gauge levels of access to the Internet, and the factors facilitating and constraining use and adoption. The study is based primarily on a survey of residents in Cody-Rouge, Milwaukee Junction and 7/8 Mile and Woodward neighborhoods, from November through December 2017. The survey was complemented by qualitative interviews and three focus groups with Detroit residents.

The findings of this study identify key digital divides within these neighborhoods, and illuminate a common pattern of Internet use in the city – what might be called Detroit’s Internet ecosystem – that helps explain the relative lack of Internet access across its households. The findings provide the basis for a set of recommendations for narrowing the digital divide, including ways to address such issues as the affordability of the Internet.

Suggested Citation:Reisdorf, Bianca and Hampton, Keith and Fernandez, Laleah and Dutton, William H., Broadband to the Neighborhood: Digital Divides in Detroit (January 16, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Here is a Ebook Version of the full paper

Link to the download