Digital Divide : The Ugly Truth
Bridging the Gap
The internet is an essential tool in the modern world because it adds to ones knowledge and gives the ability for people to share their existing knowledge. Internet access is taken for granted by the average youth that has been brought up in North America, whereas in third world countries such as Africa, internet access is seen as a luxury. This problem is referred to as the digital divide. The digital divide is the gap between people who have access to current technology and those who do not. But it seems like companies are trying to bridge the gap by providing technology to those without it for their own benfits rather than for the people.
Certain companies have came from under the surface to put an end to the digital divide such as Facebook, Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, Opera Software and Qualcomm, who have partnered up to launch a website: internet.org. The main goal of this website is to make internet access worldwide. This could have an infinite impact. The internet could help boost agriculture world wide with updated weather reports, it can provide individuals with more information to expand their knowledge as well as give a voice to the voiceless. With internet access being available to everyone, innovation can be at an all time high.
The approach to making this idea become a reality, the site focuses on issues such as affordability and awareness. Facebook is providing free access to basic websites for news updates, health awareness and educational purposes. These services are provided to 49 countries (source). Another approach is a team that is called the connectivity lab. This is the brains behind the free internet operation. This team comes up with ways to make access possible and affordable through technology. The phenomenons that they have come up with include an Aquila Unmanned Aircraft which soars 60,000 ft into the air to provide internet to distant areas of the earth.
The Flip Side
Mark Zuckerberg definitely has a good vision in mind with this site. It certainly makes me think twice that a business such as Facebook is willing to go out of their way to make internet access free while being a non-profit company. Facebook’s intentions in the past have always been aimed at getting more users which leads to an increase in revenue. You maybe thinking that “who cares if they are increasing the users of Facebook at least they are connecting more people in the world.” However this is not true because with their innovation Free basics they are in control of which sites you can have access to which overall goes against what they say their goal is. With this control one can not use the internet openly and add their knowledge or expand since they have a limitation on what they can or can not access. In other words what ever Facebook wants you to see you will see. This is a false interpretation of what the real internet is and what it can provide. With this being said company’s with alternate intentions of gaining from the digital divide rather then putting an end to it makes you wonder whether there will ever be internet access to accommodate everyone in the world.