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Reasons for Digital Divide

Discuss about the Digital Divide for People and Communities.

Digital Divide is a term that refers to a gap that exists between various entities in terms of people, communities, organizations and likewise on the basis of various reasons such as social and economic levels that has led to varying opportunity and accessibility to the Information Systems and Technology. The divide is between the sections that have the opportunities along with the accessibility to various components of Information and Communication Technology with the ones that are still not able to make use of the same to gain advantages (Oecd, 2016). There are a number of parameters that help in the better understanding of the concept of digital divide.

  • Primary Subject: The major or the primary subject is the entities that make use of various components of Information Systems and Technology that may be individual users, group of users, entire business and likewise.
  • Attributes: There are a number of attributes that are associated with the presence of the digital gap in terms of gender, ethnicity, geographical areas, and education opportunity and likewise.
  • Usage: Usage of the IT resources and components are associated with the ease of accessibility, requirement of the usage and the opportunities that are provided.
  • Source of Connectivity: There are a number of sources which can be used by the users to make use of IT services and digital components such as mobile devices, laptops, personal computers, shared computers and likewise.

The benefits of the Information Technology and Systems is understood in a better way by the users that are educated to benefit from the same and have the knowledge of the potential advantages that they can bring. There are also many individuals who do not get the education opportunities and therefore fail to understand the benefits of Internet. Such individuals do not make an attempt or an effort to gain opportunity of usage.

The basic requirement of using the web is to have a device to access the same along with the network infrastructure as well. There are many users who fail to afford these basic necessities to make use of the web whereas on the other hand there are users who can easily afford the same. The varying economic condition of the people and communities is one of the major reasons behind the presence of digital divide.

The accessibility and permission to use the web also depends upon the factors such as race and ethnicity. There have been people of particular race that actively make use of the web for various purposes whereas there are some who are refrained from gaining access to the Internet for any of the purposes (CsStanford, 2016).

There have been characteristic variances observed in the use of ICT by people belong to a particular gender or a particular age group in comparison to the counterparts. The same has emerged as a prime factor behind the presence of digital divide.

  • Huawei is an organization that collaborated with one of the largest neighborhood transporter in Bangladesh to initiate the Phone Lady extend. The basic idea behind the project was to install banded Communication Information Centers (CICs) to Provide Universal Access Services (UAS) to the users. The project enabled the residents to make use of the web through easy accessibility to the services and gain financial and social benefits out of the same. The major task that was covered in the project was the connectivity of the bearer with a huge number of nearby proprietors with majority of them being females. It included the organization of activities for the purchasing of the cell phone gadgets and providing the basic knowhow on the usage of the same. The project resulted in the understanding of the major issues behind the problem associated with UAS in the region and aided in the creation of the countermeasures to resolve the same leading to better opportunity and accessibility to the web.
  • There was another successful activity around the issue of Digital Divide that was conducted by Maitland Commission and was termed as Telephone for All The goal of the project was to allow the broadband inclusion for all the entities and the same has been accomplished as per the report covered by ITU Secretary-General. The project targeted the public and private sector organizations along with the individual users and was a big success in the attempt to provide ease of accessibility and connectivity to the users (Huawei, 2016).

Along with the organizations, there are also initiatives and active attempts that are being made by various countries. These attempts are done with the objective to reduce the digital gap and bring together the users at a same platform to allow them to benefit with the opportunities that are offered by web.

Education Opportunity and Level

Singapore is one of the most active participants in the attempts to include the policies around data innovation, digital advancement and electronic procedures in all of its processes. It stands second in the list of the nations with the opportunities associated with online administrations and cooperation that is provided in terms of electronic instruments standing just behind United Arab Emirates. Also, the nation also stands second with next to Finland in the list of countries that have automated workforce in the business operations and services. With the presence of advanced infrastructure, the nation has been able to achieve an enhanced level of portable broadband memberships per capita. On the other hand, the web uptake is not up to the mark as only seventy five percent of the entire population makes use of the web which can be far better with the existence of the advanced infrastructure. However, the country is making active attempts to improve the numbers and has managed to achieve the better percentage of internet users.

Finland is another country that has been actively working towards the process of bridging the digital gap that is present across the globe in the present era. It has been recorded as the top most country in the list of the number of licenses per capita that are issued. There are a number of data innovation policies and attempts that are being made by the country to allow the users to benefit from the various opportunities that are provided by web. There have also been a number of approaches that are followed for the improvement in the web based business that is being used all across the nation. The country again scores a top spot in the existence of automated workforce.

More than half of the population that is associated with Sweden is engaged in the information based operations that are carried out. The infrastructure and policies that are present in the country for the use and access of the internet for personal and professional operations are huge in number. The same has led to a number of economical and social benefits to the users as well as the government which has made the country as one of the top most nations in the list of digitally advanced nations. Sweden Government has been constantly working towards the goal of reducing the digital divide.

The Netherlands has managed to position itself on the third sport in terms of the ease of accessibility to the devices and network that is required to make use of the web. There are a number of organizations that operate from the country to enable its residents to have hassle free Internet services and allow them to make complete benefit of the same. The country scores will on the basis of the framework that is required to access the web, business operations that are carried out for opportunities and access along with the developmental activities that are carried out associated with the same.

Economic Levels

In terms of the accessibility, Norway has managed to come second in the race just behind Iceland. The framework and infrastructure that the country provides is ideal to allow the access to the users. The country also makes sure that the correct training is provided to the users to gain maximum benefits out of the Internet sources. Also, the country has managed to grab sixth spot in terms of the optimum utilization of the automated resources (Weforum, 2016).

It is necessary to have a clear picture of the assets that are associated with a particular community prior to the process of bridging the digital divide that has been created. The same can be done through data collection and analysis around the details and factors such as the individuals and households that have the access to the web, the individuals and households that can easily manage to gain the access to the web in case of absence, the number and types of devices that are owned by each household, the major problem areas that are present and likewise. The analysis of these factors along with the mapping of the same with the requirements would enable a better procedure for the creation of the opportunities to the users who do not have the access and privilege to the web in a particular community (Bates, 2016).

A number of public and private sector organizations along with many of the not-for-profit organizations are currently working to bridge the gap created by the digital advancements. It is necessary for the nations to come up with the Government policies and support to encourage the attempts that are made by such organizations. Also, the local support shall be provided by the community representatives and individuals to make the organizations understand and analyze the requirements in a better manner and come up with the corresponding solution to the same.

There are often scenarios in which the users refrain from the usage of the web due to the high rates of the plans and services that are associated around the same. However, there are numerous plans that are made available by the providers as per the usage requirements. There are also time to time offers that are rolled out by the providers that may benefit the users in terms of low cost and high usage limit. It is recommended to keep a track of such offers and services to avail the same (Dugan et al., 2014).

Race and Ethnicity

White space is a term that is used in the internet world to those frequencies and bandwidths that are not utilized by any particular channel at a specific timeframe. These frequencies must be allowed to be used by the business units and users to make successful use of web for the execution of operations and transmission of information from one location to the other over the web. It would also allow increased network usage, improved network speed along with lesser collisions among the data packets (Rogers, 2016).

During the setting up of a network structure, there is a lot of effort that is made towards cabling and installation of the links such as through optical fibers, twisted pair cables and likewise. In case of the wired networks, it is these cables that form the links and connectivity for communication and access to the web. However, there are scenarios in which the network requirements may change over a period of time and the re-installation of these links may require a lot of work and may also damage the existing connectivity. It is therefore required to make use of the dig-once approach during the installations and connections which is a onetime process for setting up the connections and can be scaled up and down as per the requirement without any re-work involved in the process. The process has also proved to be extremely inexpensive as well. The accessibility and connectivity can therefore be provided at low costs to the users (Riggins and Dewan, 2015).

There are situations in which the users fail to make proper utilization of the web especially the users that do not have the prior knowledge of the benefits that can come out with the correct use of the services and applications that are offered through web. In order to make such users connect with web, it is necessary for the developers and business units to come up with the content that is of particular interest to the users. For instance, a community group shall be introduced with a web application that has all the necessary information associated with the community in terms of location, services, and residents and likewise. It would allow the community users to build interest in the web usage and will also enable them to explore other areas of the web as per their requirements and necessities (IEEESpectrum, 2016).

Conclusion

Digital Divide has come up as one of the major causes of concern of the current digital era and the issue is being tackled at a number of individual, organizational and national levels. There are attempts that are being made by the entities to bring down the gap that has been created and provide equal opportunities and accessibility to all the users irrespective of their location, race, ethnicity, social status, economical status and likewise. Many countries have been working towards achieving this goal with some of the frontrunners such as Singapore, Sweden, Norway, Finland, The Netherlands and many others in the list. There are a number of solutions which can be used by the entities to control the problem of digital divide such as careful analysis and examination of the community assets that are present, development of local content for the users, local and government support to the organizations, utilization of the white space on the web and many others. It is also necessary to improve the status and level of education all across the globe to enable the users with the understanding of the benefits of the web and also the ability to afford the same. 

References

Bates, K. (2016). Closing the Digital Divide: Promoting Broadband Adoption Among Underserved Populations. [online] Available at: https://www.nlc.org/Documents/Find%20City%20Solutions/Research%20Innovation/Infrastructure/Closing_Digital_Divide_Promoting_Broadband_Adoption_Underserved_Populations.pdf [Accessed 3 Nov. 2016].

CsStanford, (2016). The Digital Divide. [online] Cs.stanford.edu. Available at: https://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs201/projects/digital-divide/start.html [Accessed 3 Nov. 2016].

Dugan, S., Bolsinger, A., Bolsinger, A., Bolsinger, A., Larson, S., Bolsinger, A., Meier, N., Dugan, S. and Dugan, S. (2014). Three ways to bridge the digital divide in Oakland (Community Voices) - Oakland Local. [online] Oakland Local. Available at: https://oaklandlocal.com/2014/04/three-ways-to-bridge-the-digital-divide-in-oakland-community-voices/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2016].

Huawei, (2016). Huawei India - Bridging the Digital Divide. [online] Available at: https://huawei.com/in/about-huawei/corporate-citizenship/bridging-digital-divide/index.htm [Accessed 3 Nov. 2016].

IEEESpectrum, (2016). 3 Ways To Bridge The Digital Divide. [online] Available at: https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/computing/networks/3-ways-to-bridge-the-digital-divide [Accessed 3 Nov. 2016].

Oecd, (2016). [online] Available at: https://www.oecd.org/sti/1888451.pdf [Accessed 3 Nov. 2016].

Riggins, F. and Dewan, S. (2015). "The Digital Divide: Current and Future Research Directions" by Frederick J. Riggins and Sanjeev Dewan. [online] Aisel.aisnet.org. Available at: https://aisel.aisnet.org/jais/vol6/iss12/13/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2016].

Rogers, E. (2016). The Digital Divide. [online] Available at: https://con.sagepub.com/content/7/4/96.abstract [Accessed 3 Nov. 2016].

Weforum. (2016). The top 10 nations for bridging the digital divide. [online] Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/04/which-nations-are-top-for-digital/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2016].C

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