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Digital Divide

The term 'digital divide' describes the fact that the world can be divided into people who do and people who don't have access to - and the capability to use - modern information technology, such as the telephone, television, or the Internet. The digital divide exists between those in cities and those in rural areas. For example, a 1999 study showed that 86% of Internet delivery was to the 20 largest cities. The digital divide also exists between the educated and the uneducated, between economic classes, and, globally, between the more and less industrially developed nations.

What recommendations would you make to address the Digital Divide?

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Bridging the Digital Divide

1. The Need for Nuanced Understanding and Action: As the diffusion of the Internet is
global, important and ongoing, understanding the causes and the impacts of the multiple digital
divides is required. Such understanding can provide practical information for decision making: both for targeting market segments with different social and economic backgrounds in different parts of the world, and for building public-NGO-private partnerships for bridging the digital divide.

2. Governments, private sectors, and NGOs have initiated and sponsored numerous programs to bridge the digital divide through Internet connectivity in public places such as schools, community centers, and public libraries. To do this properly, there is a need to evaluate systematically the impacts of such programs.

3. There is no one digital divide. Understanding the causes of the uneven diffusion of the Internet and other telecommunication technologies across countries is the first step in bridging the digital divide. Given the multiple levels and multiple causes of the digital divide, bridging the digital divide is more complicated than merely providing computers and Internet connections. Bridging the divide has to promote both broader access to, and effective use of, the Internet. It ...

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