Bridging the Digital Divide
The Digital Divide is the split of people who have access to the internet, in contrast to those who do not. The divide at large is caused by the unaffordibility and low quality of internet connection in different regions of the world. Many people worldwide face different barriers to access the internet, and different levels of how large the divide is to them. Barriers include: slow connection speeds, lack of infrastructure for connective services, political firewalls, education, income levels, and the list goes on. It is estimated that only 40% of the world’s population has had access online, and even fewer have frequent access. The question we must ask ourselves, as people with the privilege to access the internet is: why do we want to bridge the digital divide?
The online world is used as a platform for political reform and conversation about the governments that regulate us. With closing the digital divide, people worldwide would be able to access information and educate themselves. This would create more transparency in governments worldwide, and give people a platform to amplify their views on.
Income inequality is one of the leading factors for the digital divide. Roughly 16% of people worldwide live in ‘developed’ countries, with high levels of web access country wide. The remaining portion of people living outside these countries, experience larger barriers as the countries’ GDP lowers. Closing the digital divide would give people in countries that aren’t as economically fortified, a chance to educate and push the ceiling on current career options.
With the opportunity to have worldwide access to the web, it also creates greater chance for global data. Currently, countries that have very little web access are left with: smaller local data banks, fewer online opportunities, and greater barriers of connecting to family and others. With global web access; marketers, business professionals, and governments will have entry into new markets. Entry into new markets will create new data and higher income in those respective countries. This would give local residents a chance to earn higher income, and advance the quality of life.
Bridging the digital divide is a solution businesses around the world are working on, to both professionaly advance and give back. The impact of connecting the world would result in a more equitable Earth, and connectivity to one another.