Digital DivideFor many the internet has ushered in the greatest period of wealth creation inhistory. Those without internet access are not quite so lucky because they areon the other side of the digital divide.
What is it?This term refers to the amount of people withaccess to information and communicationtechnology (ICT) as opposed to those thatdon’t have access to ICT.Simply the “haves v the have nots”
The Haves and Have NotsThe Haves The Have NotsCities Rural AreasEducated people Less EducatedUpper Income People Lower Income FamiliesMore industrially developed Less Industrially Developedcountries CountriesNon-minority Neighbourhoods Minority NeighbourhoodsPeople without disabilities People with disabilities
What are the impacts?1. Access to Services: Increasingly the government and companies now use websites as a reference for their clients to access information.2. Education : More and more schools are purchasing computers for their students to find rich content and increase productivity. Also more and more courses are now available online.
3. Employment: Most jobs now require someuse of ICT. From the courier who uses GPSto the graphic designer who uses AdobeCreative Suite.“The Have Nots” are disadvantaged if theydon’t have access to ICT in their everydayand work (and school) life.
So what is society doing?Some of the ways that society can helpreduce this digital divide are;1. Government Policies - such ascontrolling the benchmarks that thetelecommunication industry must meet to winvital contracts ie Telstra’s internet coverage inrural areas. Or recently policy involving theminimum amount of computers per student inall schools.
2. Access to Online Services andInformation ; Governments and Companies areproviding websites and/or modified input deviceswhich can accommodate people with differingdisabilities. Providing simplified websites and userfriendly online resources.ie for example websites with spoken text for peoplewith vision impairment or modified pointing devicesfor people with restricted hand and armmovement/control.
3. Rural Access - Providing training for people in rural areas as well as providing free access to ICT centres in rural towns. Govt providing infrastructure telephone lines, exchanges) and ensuring that ISP’s provide internet to rural areas. Offering discounts on satellite technology to people who can’t access broadband internet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59x-qlOsGZk