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Reducing the Digital Divide and Overcoming Peripherality. Conor Mc Caffery NIRSA Doctoral Fellow Department of Geography NUI Maynooth. Overview. What is the Digital Divide and why worry about/overcome it? NW Europe and The European Digital Divide Examples of basic indicators and rankings

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reducing the digital divide and overcoming peripherality

Reducing the Digital Divide and Overcoming Peripherality

Conor Mc Caffery

NIRSA Doctoral Fellow

Department of Geography

NUI Maynooth

overview
Overview
  • What is the Digital Divide and why worry about/overcome it?
  • NW Europe and The European Digital Divide
  • Examples of basic indicators and rankings
  • International/national/regional divisions
  • Problems associated with peripheral regions and needs
  • Transnational cooperation and INTERREG
  • Areas worth looking at in future projects
digital divide
Digital Divide

Refers to the gap between individuals, households, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard both to their opportunities to access information and communication technologies (ICTs) and to their use of the internet for a wide variety of activities (OECD)

why worry about overcome it
Why worry about/overcome it?
  • The EU’s success in achieving the goal of becoming the most competitive knowledge-based society (eEurope initiative) “will determine the quality of life of its citizens, the working conditions of its workers and the overall competitiveness of its industries and services” (European Communities, 2003).
  • If this is the potential of a ‘knowledge-based society’ and the goal of the EU, what about those people/businesses/regions unable to participate or falling behind?
  • “The availibility of quality telecommunications infrastructure and services at a competitive price is as crucial to regional development as electrification was in the 40s and 50s” (ISC, 2002)
nw europe
NW Europe
  • Not a homogeneous region
  • The Digital Divide in the EU: National Policies and Access to ICTs in the Member States
  • www.dcu.ie/oscail/caffrey.pdf
  • Internet and other indicators of technology access
  • Policy contexts
divisions
Divisions
  • Socioeconomic, infrastructure readiness and geographic
  • Tripartite

LeadersIntermediatesLaggards

Sweden Austria Ireland

Finland Germany Italy

Denmark France Spain

The NetherlandsUK Portugal

LuxembourgBelgium Greece

  • North/South
  • Regional and broadband
regional disparities
Regional Disparities
  • Eg. Ireland
  • National Level

South & East Region and The Celtic Tiger

  • Within Regions (Western Region)

‘Gateways’ and ‘Hubs’

‘Critical Mass’

>5km ADSL exchange = no broadband

peripheral regions
Peripheral Regions
  • Present two major difficulties
  • 1- Social

Dispersed population

Population density

Ageing population

  • 2- Geographic

Physical accessibility

Technological problems associated with landscape

Different locations require different solutions

two needs
Two Needs
  • 1- Technological access

2- Ability

  • Examples of measures explored to overcome these:

Public Internet Access Points (PIAPs)

Community technology centers

Community training

transnational cooperation
Transnational Cooperation?
  • Need for a coordinated body – develop network of groups in these countries
  • Examples from NW Ireland:

Training- Within the microbusiness sector, training for the long-term unemployed and women returners to the workforce.

New technology- Locals bidding to the BMW Regional Assembly Broadband Wireless Internet Access Fund

existing interreg projects
Existing INTERREG Projects
  • TESIS (Technology Supported Innovation and E-Business in the Information Society)
  • New Technologies in Rural Areas and Smaller Towns
  • Craft and Creative Industries in the Information Age (CIA)
  • Planning for the Knowledge Economy
  • E-BYGOV (e-Government pilot project)
areas worth looking at for future projects
Areas worth looking atfor future projects
  • Address the last kilometre – alternative technologies
  • Focusing on a)Need b)Relevence
  • Use the community
  • Virtual networking
  • MSE European portal
  • An IT based network for education at all levels
reducing the digital divide and overcoming peripherality1

Reducing the Digital Divide and Overcoming Peripherality

Conor Mc Caffery

NIRSA Doctoral Fellow

Department of Geography

NUI Maynooth