The Chicago Tribune published an article this weekend about the impact that the Internet can have on the lives of people who are trying to make ends meet. The article mentions the WiMax rollout in Chicago, and the Lt. Governor of Illinois’ recently introduced ordinance to provide 15,000 low-cost laptops to Chicago Public School kids.
But the article is really about how the Internet gives people access to a whole new world. From the article:
Michael Bailey, who helps provide computer training for Chicago Housing Authority
residents, said that once people develop computer skills “they start to see that they can succeed. When they have the motivation, you begin to see lifestyle changes.”
The article quotes one woman who has a computer but cannot afford Internet service. She has a paying job, but other things are more important. But it started me thinking, for those who have a modest income, for whom a high-speed Internet connection might just be a little too expensive, could Internet access actually pay for itself?
With a little motivation, the Internet opens up a boat load of opportunity. Just getting the tools to apply to one job a day, or using online resources to education oneself, Internet access could result in a higher paying job. For those with time, who are willing to put some effort, everything a person would need to make money from the Internet is freely available online.
Is the Internet worth springing for, even if it might put a family outside their means? How long would it take for Internet access in a household to pay for itself?