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The Global Impact Of The Digital Divide

1821 words - 8 pages

The Global Impact of the Digital Divide

History and Background

According to Fabian Koss, the “Digital Divide” as it has come to be known, is the gap between individuals, households, businesses, and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels and their opportunities to access information and communication technologies. This divide is most prolific in developing countries, along with rural areas, reservations, and areas of high minority populations in the US. The digital divide is a relatively new term in the technology world. It came about in the mid 1990’s when the Commerce Department began to notice disparities in modem ownership and usage among US households. However ...view middle of the document...

With all these obstacles in the way to bridge the digital divide, other important aspects need to be realized.

Importance’s of Bridging the Digital Divide

To begin, a worldly approach can be of particular interest. Within the new global economy, countries with a low percentage of technologically savvy citizens are at a severe disadvantage in an economic sense to more developed countries. Technology offers improvements in productivity, knowledge, and efficiency. The benefits and resources offered in a highly technical environment provide companies, organizations, and governmental agencies a distinct competitive advantage. As we know, competitive advantage leads to higher profits, and a citizenship of highly satisfied individuals.

Also of importance is the theory of narrowing the income gap. That is lessening the large gap that exists in the level of wealth and wellbeing of those how have a high income to those at or under the poverty level. Currently 2.8 billion of the world’s 6 billion people live on less than two dollars a day. (Koss) With such a high level of poverty and underdevelopment, technology is only widening the gap at an alarming rate.

In today’s society Information and Communication Technology represent the most powerful tool towards economic, social, and educational prosperity. In order to take full advantage of this tool, access to the technological devices that provide services needed to be involved in information and communication based society is a necessity. A growing gap is emerging however. People of certain demographics are much less likely to gain the aforementioned access.

US Demographics of the Digital Divide

In the US the digital divide is most aparent when looked at through a demographic standpoint. Race, age, education, income, and geographies, all lead to higher levels of unconnected citizens. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is the leading authority on tracking information about the digital divide. First is the issue of race, African-Americans, Hispanics, Latin Americans, and Asian Americans are less likely to have the same technological opportunities as Caucasians. Over 46.1% of whites have Internet capabilities from home in 2000, according to the US Dept. of Commerce. Compared to only 23.5% of blacks, and 26.6% of Hispanics. (NTIA)

With regards to income, only 19.2% of families with less than $15,000 in annual have Internet capabilities. Obviously as income rises so does the percentage of people with Internet access. At $50,000, 58.6% are connected, and at $75,000 annual income the rate is at 86.3%, all figures are from the year 2000. Income therefore is a key factor with regards to at-home technology use. (NTIA) Next, education levels will be discussed.

The level of education one receives will have an impact Internet access also. If one has less than a high school education...

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