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The Digital Divide. COM 160. The Digital Divide. Digital Divide: refers to the gap between people with (actual) effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all. The Internet’s Haves/Have Nots

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The Digital Divide

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the digital divide1
The Digital Divide
  • Digital Divide: refers to the gap between people with (actual) effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all.
  • The Internet’s Haves/Have Nots
  • Includes the imbalance both in physical access to technology (i.e. no computer, no internet access, no power) and the resources and skills needed to effectively participate as a digital citizen (knowing how to use a browser, software, etc).
the digital divide2
The Digital Divide
  • Knowledge divide reflects the access of various social groupings to information and knowledge, typically gender, income, race, and by location.
  • Global Digital Divide refers to differences in access between countries.
  • What Is the Digital Divide? (Video)
  • America Offline (Video)
  • Where Are The Women? (Video)
  • Bridging the (Global) digital divide (Video)
the digital divide3
The Digital Divide
  • U.S. Commerce Dept. reports that low income and minority citizens have less broadband access
  • According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) states in the Northeast and West U.S. showed higher internet access than states in the South and Midwest
  • Most glaring gaps in access were among low-income families, African-Americans, Hispanics and disabled Americans
from 2001 2009 ntia data
From 2001-2009 (NTIA data)
  • Broadband grew from 9.2% adoption rate to 63.5%
  • 94% of households earning over $100K have broadband, 36% of households earning less than $25K have broadband
  • Utah, Arkansas, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have the highest percentage of people using broadband at home (tied at 75%)
education environment
Education & Environment
  • Broadband access among those who had NOT graduated high school: 28.8%
  • Among those with a college degree or more education: 85.5%
  • 51% of rural population have broadband, compared to 66% of urban households
  • Broadband is difficult and expensive to run in rural areas; many rural internet users are still utilizing dial up connections
home broadband access
Home Broadband Access
  • Among people who do NOT use broadband at home, 38% think they do not need it
  • 26% say it is too expensive
government intervention
Government intervention
  • Federal Stimulus money: 2009 Barack Obama released billions to get more rural areas and cities online (developing connectivity infrastructure); exploring neighborhood/city-wide free Wi-Fi areas
  • FCC’s National Broadband Plan: National plan to even the digital divide, regarding access and connectivity infrastructure
  • FCC Unveils National Broadband Plan (Video)
  • FCC Plan Urges Faster, Wider Broadband Internet Access (Video)
  • Announcing the Broadband Plan (Video)
pew home broadband 2010 study
Pew Home Broadband 2010 Study
  • Adoption of broadband slowed dramatically in 2010
  • African American populations experienced the most growth in broadband access in 2010; from 46% in 2009 to 56% in 2010
  • 2/3 of American adults currently use high speed internet connections at home
  • 53% of American don’t think the spread of broadband access should be a major gov’t priority
  • Younger users were more likely to support gov’t involvement in affordable broadband access
pew home broadband 2010 study1
Pew Home Broadband 2010 Study
  • 21% of Americans do not use the internet; many non users cite “online content is not relevant to their lives and they are not confident they could use computers and navigate the web on their own.”
  • 6 in 10 non users say they would need assistance in getting online
  • The average broadband subscriber pays $41.18/month for service
pew home broadband 2010 study2
Pew Home Broadband 2010 Study

Disadvantages of non-internet use:

  • 43%: finding job opportunities and improving career skills
  • 34%: getting health information
  • 31%: learning new things that might enrich/improve one’s life
  • 29%: using gov’t services online
global digital divide
Global Digital Divide
  • Defined as: “great disparities in opportunity to access the Internet and the information and educational/business opportunities tied to this access … between developed and developing countries”.
  • Unlike the traditional notion of the "digital divide" between social classes, the "global digital divide" is essentially a geographical division.
  • Technology has developed unevenly throughout the world, causing some countries to fall behind others
  • Those countries with limited access/development are at a disadvantage
global digital divide1
Global Digital Divide
  • The G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US) are home to almost 50% of the world’s total Internet users even though they had just 15% of the world’s population
global digital divide2
Global Digital Divide
  • The differences in the Internet penetration rate both within and between countries are contributed by socioeconomic, technological and linguistic factors
  • High costs, economic priorities, English language dominance, the lack of relevant content, the lack of technological support and disparity in literacy rate are some of the barriers for disadvantaged communities that need to be overcome
obstacles to overcoming the global digital divide
Obstacles to overcoming the global digital divide:
  • Physical Access: obtaining access to computers, landlines, networks in order to access the internet
  • Financial Access: the cost of infrastructure and equipment, software, training, maintenance
  • Cognitive Access: in order to use computer technology, information literacy is needed
  • Design Access: accessible to those with different physical and learning disabilities, and language barriers
obstacles to overcoming the global digital divide1
Obstacles to overcoming the global digital divide:
  • Institutional Access: having access at places other than individual homes and workplaces (where access is highly limited); libraries, schools, community centers, post offices, etc.
  • Political Access: democratic political regimes enable faster growth of the Internet; countries like Iran and China that block or censor content; Iran has prohibited the use of high-speed internet in order to prevent the influence of Western culture