EDGE 901 Assignment 2 The Digital Divide 2261273INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY STATEMENT:By submitting the assignment I certify that thisassignment is my own work and is free fromplagiarism. I understand that the assignmentmay be checked for plagiarism by electronic orother means. The assignment has not previouslybeen submitted for assessment in any othersubject or institution.
The Digital Divide in Remote & Rural & AustraliaThe digital Divide takes various forms, and impacts individuals, social groups, businesses, regions andnations differently.Recent advancements in Information Computer Technologies (ICTs) across the globe have created amyriad of opportunities by which to broaden participation in the network-based economy. The digitalDivide takes various forms, and impacts individuals, social groups, businesses, regions and nationsdifferently. Recent advancements in Information Computer Technologies (ICTs) across the globe havecreated a myriad of opportunities by which to broaden participation in the network-based economy.However these opportunities for digital, economic, social and global participation are unequallydistributed across Australia. In this sense Digital Technology has deepened and intensiﬁed the socio-economic divisions among Social classes in Australia. Low Socio-Economic groups living in Rural andremote Australian Communities are some of the most severely impacted by what has become known asthe Digital Divide. (Sargent 2008)The Digital divide refers to this imbalance within society where the availability of, and access to digitaltechnologies is unequally distributed across social groups. These divisions are globally recognised tobe Race, Gender, Age, Socio-Economic Status, Educational Attainment, Disability, Language Spoken,Employment and Household income and Geographic location. (Dodds 2010)
Australia’s Economic Position. The Australian digital landscape presents a unique representation of the digital divide. According to the OECD Australia is among the world’s wealthiest countries, having weathered the global economic downturn relatively well. The OECD Declares Australia....• Australia, along with Finland, Ireland and Sweden have the highest success rates in the OECD for young people with poorly educated parents attaining a tertiary degree. (Education Attainment & Upward Mobility.)• Australian women have surpassed men in tertiary attainment. (Gender equality.)• Australia is in the top ten OECD countries in representation to household access to a computer. 78% (Access)
Remoteness in AustraliaAustralia is a vast country where the majority of Australians (68.6%) live in urbansettings, however these cities are located thousands of kilometres apart, divided byvast deserts and mountain ranges. (ABS 2007) Approximately 18% of the Australianpopulation live in rural and remote areas of which 10% live in very remote regions.(Alston and Kent 2004)Rural and regional generally refers to those communities or areas outsidemetropolitan cities.The OECD deﬁnition of a rural community is based on population density of nomore than 150 people per square kilometre. The concept of rural in an Australiancontext can also be deﬁned as areas far from major service centres. Thesecommunities are characterised by limited availability of services such astelecommunications, government access, banking, transport, civic associations,community networks and Information Communication Technologies. (ICTs) (Sargent2008)
What is a Rural Community? According to Alston and Kent rural communities can be characterised into three different yet equally susceptible categories in the context of digital inclusion.• Communities, which are generally, characterised by low incomes, high levels of unemployment, fewer opportunities for tertiary education, reduced access to services and support.• Rural farming communities, which are not necessarily poor but represent blue collar workers.• Wealthy affluent retirees who choose rural lifestyles. (Alston and Kent 2004)
Remoteness an Australian Divider Remoteness is a signiﬁcant issue, which has accentuated the ‘digital divide’ in Australian society. In terms of ICT access rural communities face constraints such as:• High cost of accessing ICT (telecommunication prices)• Limited choice and availability in service providers• Restricted access to education and educational resources• Training and user-supported services• Inadequate technical capability of the telecommunications infrastructure to access services and information that require high bandwidth. (Sargent 2008)
Rural Communities are vulnerable to thedigital divide for a number of reasons. • Income Disparity (Metropolitan vs Non Metropolitan centres.) • Educational Attainment. • A Lack of Services. (Government & Non Government.) • Unemployment.
Income Disparity• Willis and Tranter identify that the digital divide in Australia is inextricably linked to household income and personal wealth. Ownership of ICT technologies, subscription to high speed Internet coverage, the use of ICT technologies in the workplace and through tertiary education are largely patterned by personal income. (Willis and Tranter 2006)• The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2012 highlights the fact that income distribution is unevenly spread throughout Australia. These statistics highlight the disproportionate concentration of wealth in metropolitan areas and substantially lower average incomes in rural and remote regions of Australia. (with the exception of rural mining towns.)• People on low incomes, living in rural areas are less likely to pay exorbitant prices for internet use.• People on low incomes are more likely to purchase dial up internet connection.• People on low incomes are more likely to attend schools which have inadequate ICT services & Fibre optic broadband.• People on low incomes are more likely to use the internet for low skilled interactions.
Australia’s Income Disparity between Urban and Rural Centres. (a snapshot) AVERAGE&INCOME,&3&RICHEST&&&3&POOREST&BY&&120000"100000" 80000" 60000" 40000" AVERAGE"INCOME" 20000" 0" NSW" NSW" NSW" WA" SA" SA" MOSMAN"(M)"WOOLLAHRA" HUNTERS" WICKEPIN®" KAROONDA" ELLISTON"®" (M)" HILL(M)" EAST" MURRAY®" Australia’s wealthiest suburbs and poorest. (ABS 2010)
Infrastructure:According to Sarkar and Singh, rural and remote communities aretypically characterised by a limited availability of the following services:(Sarkar and Singh 2008) • Telecommunications providers. • Financial Services • Health Services • TransportPublic Housing • Civic Associations • Government Agencies
ICT and Access to Services• In regards to ICT related services, these communities are again at a disadvantage when compared to metropolitan centres. They systematically face constraints such as high cost of accessing ICT, often associated with limited choice of provider, restricted access to education and training, a lack of technical support from providers and a lack of infrastructure required to access services with high bandwidth.
Infrastructure deﬁciencies plague rural communities and accentuate the digital divide for the already disadvantaged: • Indigenous Australians • Transient and Homeless Peoples • Unemployed • Low Income Families • Aged Persons • People with a disability • Culturally & linguistically Diverse people These groups have all identiﬁed as facing signiﬁcant challenges regarding access andaffordability of communications services.(Dodds 2010)
Educational Attainmentand the Divide:Bruce and Tranter also attribute the prevalence of the digital divide in ruralcommunities to type, category and level of work undertaken in regional andmetropolitan areas through what they categorise as the ‘occupational classaffect.’(Willis and Tranter 2006; Dodds 2010)Tertiary educated professions working in white collar industries are 3.5 timesmore likely to engage with ICTs than blue collar workers, not only in theirworkplace but also at home. These professions are also more likely toengage in high intensity ICT use. (Willis and Tranter 2006; Dodds 2010)The ABS also highlights the signiﬁcant representation of blue-collar workerslocated in non-metropolitan areas.
Rural and Remote Schools & the Divide. High speed broadband is the foundation on which information communications technology can be integrated into our schools, making a new approach to learning and teaching possible. Teachers, parents, students and other members of the community can get involved in online communication and information sharing, regardless of location or school sector.The availability of ubiquitous, reliable high speed broadband will support: 1 Schools, with the technological tools to work together (for example, virtual classrooms, video and audio streaming, high deﬁnition video conferencing) and create ﬂexible, personalised learning for all students; 2 Teachers, to communicate, collaborate and access education resources across traditional boundaries; and students, with networked computers to interact with their peers and teachers in other schools across Australia and around the world. (Department of Education 2011)
High Speed AccessUnevenly Distributed. According to the 2010 Schools Connectivity, rural and remote regions are disadvantaged in terms of High Speed Broadband Access. 72% of Schools in Metropolitan Areas are connected to High Speed Broadband via Fibre. 40% of School in Regional Areas 26.8% of Schools in Remote Areas(Department of Education 2011)
Technology types used by schools according to geographical regions (2010 survey) 80" 70" 60" 50" 40" Metropolitan" 30" Regional" 20" Remote" 10" 0" " " e" s" n" r" " re ss er es he lit ow le Fib pp cc te Ot ire kn Co Sa "A W Un No
Unemployment:According to the ABS the most disadvantaged CensusCollection Districts (CDs) were under-represented in majorurban areas and over-represented in smaller towns andlocalities. They were also over-represented in remoteareas.
Young People, Unemployment and the Divide:According the ABS, young people aged 15-34 are the highest age group represented interms of unemployment. This age group are the most likely to engage with ICTs.These statistics suggests that they are the least likely to be able to afford thisinteraction . Australian Bureau of Statistics 2010.
Aboriginals in Rural Australia and the Digital Divide: A Case Study • The digital divide has a profound impact on social groups living in Rural and remote regions of Australia. • According to the ABS 67% of Aboriginal Australians live in rural and remote regions of Australia. • Consequently Aboriginal People are some of the most severely impacted by remoteness and access to ICTs. • Therefore Aboriginal Australians are highly susceptible to the Digital Divide. (ABS 2010)
Aboriginal Localities• According to the ABS, 2010• 67% of Aboriginal Australians live in non-metropolitan areas• 43% of these live in rural locations• 24% live in remote locations(ABS 2010)
Aboriginal Population Metropolitan vs Non-Metropolitan Metopolitan vs Non-Metropolitan Metropolitan 33% Non-Metropolitan 67%
Indigenous PopulationRural,Regional & Remote of Non-Metropolitan by % Rural Regional Remote 24% 43% 33%
Computer use by Remoteness in Aboriginal Communities: Top Left: Computer use by Remoteness Top Right: Frequency of Computer use by Remoteness Bottom Left: Computer location use by Remoteness (ABS 2010)
Aboriginal Computer Use • Aboriginal Access to a Computer and Use Differential.
Aboriginal Computer Use Indigenous use of Computer at home Indigenous use of internet at home Non-Inidgenous use of computer at home Non-Indigenous use of internet at home % Comparison 70 52.5 35 17.5 0
Aboriginal Use and Income • Willis and Tranter state that Income and Education are both key factors determining internet use. This research is reﬂected in the Aboriginal population. . Computer use and internet use by income quintile Computer use and internet use by education level
The Impact of the Divide inRural and Remote Australia: Social Diﬀusion Loss of Economic Opportunity Digital Literacy Civic Dislocation
Social Diffusion:ICT is seen as an increasingly accessible tool for networkingand accessing services that improve economic opportunity,bridge social inequality and promote civic opportunity.Therefore, instead of assisting with equalisation, new ICT’sthrough limitations in access are reinforcing social inequalitythrough the creation of the technologically disadvantaged.According to Sarker and Singh access to new technologiesspreads unevenly in Australia and those in rural and remotecommunities become victims to the process of heterophily ortrickle down effect. (Sarkar and Singh 2008)
Digital Literacy & Access to Social Services: In a society that is increasingly digitally enabled, barriers to accessing ICTs can effectively act as barriers to accessing the community services that disadvantaged and vulnerable rural and remote communities rely on. These essential community services include: Social Welfare Agencies such as Centrelink Employment agencies such as Mission Australia Health Services such as Rural Health Transport Services such as Meals on Wheels Agricultural services such as the Australian Agricultural College CorporationMany Government and non-government services are moving away fromtraditional means of communication, yet without competencies in digitalliteracy rural communities members have become isolated. This digital literacydivide has added further stress to those already disadvantaged in rural andremote communities.
HOW IS THE GOVERNMENT ATTEMPTING TO ADDRESS THE DIGITAL DIVIDE IN RURAL AND REMOTE AUSTRALIA ACCESS TO ICT - THE EDUCATION REVOLUTION 1-1 PROGRAM YEARS 9-12 THE EDUCATION REVOLUTION - AUSTRALIA WILL CATCH UP! LINKING SCHOOLS TO THE NATIONAL BROADBAND NETWORK. (NBN) Kevin Rudds’ pre-election promise on Australia’s Education Revolution. (Australian Labor Party 2007)
GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S 2020 PLAN:AUSTRALIA WILL RANK IN THE TOP 5 OECD NATIONS IN THE % OF HOUSEHOLDS THAT CONNECT TO BROADBAND AT HOME! The Australian Federal Government is proactively attempting to address the Digital Divide in Rural and Remote Australia. Telecommunications infrastructure including a National Broadband Network (NBN) is seen as a vital element in bridging the digital divide in Australian rural communities.
NETWORKING THE NATIONThe Australian Government’s Networking the Nation initiatives aims to assist theeconomic and social development of Australia by improving availability, accessibility andaffordability for regional and rural communities. The program aimed to reduce disparity incommunications access between Metropolitan and non-Metropolitan Australians. TheNTN program funds a number of large and small initiatives throughout Regional Australia.The Australian Government allocated $70 million to set up regional transaction centres inrural towns. (RTC) These one-stop shops act as government service providers forInternet, health, employment, insurance, taxation, Adult Education, drought and healthinformation.This initiative has also provided Public Access Points (PAPs) throughout rural communitiesof less than 3000 people. PAPs provide multipurpose access to ICTs such as computers,Internet access and fax. PAPs also provide educational opportunities for ICT skilldevelopment.
NATIONAL BROADBAND (DANIELS,R. 2012; AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CANBERRA 2012) Digital Regions Initiative: July 2009-July 2013: Addressing Social Inequality: This program is a four-year $60million collaborative project, which aims to improve the delivery of education, health and emergency services in rural and remote Australia. The ﬁrst phase of this project aimed to address the current inequality in access to services social services through innovative digital technology. (Austrailan government Department of Broadband 2009) Phase two of this project aimed to leverage the potential of the NBN through:• Stimulating Australia’s digital economy in rural Australia• Creating employment opportunities in rural Australia• Build on specialist technology based skills needed in the social service sectors. (Atkinson, Black et al. 2009; Austrailan government Department of Broadband 2009)
THE NBN- EDUCATIONALEQUALITY FOR RURAL AUSTRALIA BREAKING DOWN EDUCATIONAL BOUNDARIES CAUSED BY ACCESS TO ICT- DIGITAL DIVIDE YOUTUBE CLIP TAKEN FROM NBN.COM.AU
Building the education revolution(BER) - $16.2 Billion on Education & Infrastructure for the 21st Century• The Department of Education, Employment and workplace relations.• $16.2 Billion is an integral feature of the government’s $42 Billion Nation Building and Economic Stimulus Plan.• BER has funded 24,000 infrastructure projects across Australia (BER 2012)
Some initiatives of the BER:• The National Secondary School Computer Fund• ICT Innovation Fund• Online Curriculum, Resources and Digital Architecture• Online Curriculum Support (National Curriculum and online resources funding.)
REGIONAL BLACKSPOTS PROGRAM:In 2009, The Australian Government Department ofBroadband, Communications and the Digital Economyhas pledged $250 million to improve infrastructureblackspots regional communities. This program aimedto stimulate economic activity in regional areas.
DIGITAL HUBS PROGRAM13.6 million. This program establishes digital hubs inrural communities through the NBN. The program willprovide online training and the opportunity toexperience NBN enabled services and technology. Thisinitiative is designed to contribute towards the DigitalCommunity Goal that by 2020 Australia will rank inthe top 5 nations In the OECD in the percentage ofhouseholds that connect to broadband at home.
REGIONAL EDUCATION, SKILLS AND JOBS INITIATIVE:As part of the 2011/2012 Budget the Australian government announced a regionalskills and jobs plan initiative.This collaborative program between local, state and federal stakeholders aims todevelop strategies that will improve participation, outcomes in education, trainingand employment in rural Australia.The overall objective is to improve productivity and participation in regionalAustralia ensuring that rural and remote communities are equipped with the sameopportunities to acquire the skills needed to participate in the 21st centuryeconomy.
ACCESS - A FIRST ORDER BENCHMARKAustralian Bureau of Statistics. Media Release (15thDecember 2011.)Nearly 3/4 of Australian Households now havebroadband.
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