“Today, high-speed broadband is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.” – President Obama, January 14, 2015
Let’s stop and think about what we have.
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In some parts of the world we have GPS-controlled drones, and in the rest we have about 3.6 billion people who do not have regular internet access. These are people who are finally failing to benefit from the internet as an economic driver.
The digital divide is a gap in the availability and access to information and communication technology (ICT) among individuals and communities. Numerically, this gap, ie. People who do not have / have limited access to a computer or the Internet is three times larger than the Indian population. The idea of a digital revolution cannot be achieved when 50% of the world’s population is excluded. In other words, this population cannot compete equally in the labor market. The “optimistic path” assumed by the UN Sustainable Development Goal 9 and Agenda 2030 also envisions an avant-garde industrial revolution called Industry 4.0. As this industrial breakthrough largely depends on the adoption of technological innovations, the population separated from this technological network will be less informed and underrepresented in the capital and labor markets.
The ability to access computers and the Internet depends on many intertwined factors, namely the social and economic dimensions. Nevertheless, the digital divide can be easily bridged if these factors are divided into specific action plans. In addition to these obvious obstacles, the following would help reduce the gap:
Develop physical infrastructure: Mason’s analysis shows that the lack of adequate infrastructure suitable for Internet connection is more common in developing countries, especially in Africa. In this sense, key inputs such as the development of terrestrial connectivity between submarine cables, the development of training centers and the data module are necessary to overcome the induction barriers of digital sharing.
Promote investment and cooperation: The main element of the independent development of physical infrastructure is the liberalization of investment in public-private partnerships (PPPs). Such a measure would increase investor confidence and could maximize the efficiency of new investments suitable for financial and infrastructural resources. At this stage, a remedy is needed to reduce licensing costs and high taxes on equipment and services. At the same time, the integration of the Internet into the provision of government agency services and the use of communication infrastructure should also be a high priority.
Develop customized content: The development of physical infrastructure and the provision of training modules are not sufficient if local demand is not met. To welcome the next billion users, technologists need to get in deep contact with local communities to understand their requirements and ways to use this approach. In this way, the Internet and communication networks can be built to meet demand. Responding to real internet demand is just as important as devising new schemes.
Less dependence on social networks: Excessive enjoyment of social networks cannot help increase the penetration of the Internet due to its limited use. People can ignore the real power of internet penetration and the benefits of using it if they are limited to 140 characters on Twitter or in the square frames of a Facebook profile. The challenge of adopting and implementing different internet tools can be overcome if internet platforms and their hosting devices are used in a smarter way.
With its ubiquitous and inclusive presence, the Internet is the key to the next-generation technological approach. Realizing this, companies like Google and Facebook are assessing factors in the form of attracting more people online. Individuals, government and corporations are equally responsible for bringing the mass population into the internet. At the same time, the government should also have smart policy interventions to combat disability that bring usability divisions and any other upcoming barriers to digital sharing.