This article provides a critical comparative analysis of mobile versus personal computer (PC)-based forms of Internet access. Drawing from an interdisciplinary body of literature, it illustrates a wide range of ways in which mobile Internet access offers lower levels of functionality and content availability; operates on less open and flexible platforms; and contributes to diminished levels of user engagement, content creation, and information seeking. At a time when a growing proportion of the online population is “mobile only,” these disparities have created what is termed here a mobile Internet underclass. The implications of this argument for digital divide policymaking and, more broadly, for the evolutionary trajectory of the Internet and the dynamics of Internet usage are discussed.
Taylor & Francis Online :: The Emerging Mobile Internet Underclass: A Critique of Mobile Internet Access – The Information Society – Volume 30, Issue 5