Digital Divide , the implications, inequity and solution continues to be a conversation since it started in the 1990’s. The solution to closing the digital gap on a global scale has been on the radar of Dr. Rouzbeh Yassini known as “the father of of the cable modem” even prior to including the topic in his book Planet Broadband published in 2003. Today, Yassini continues to speak about and advocate for his passionate vision to “bring affordable broadband to all people of the world.” In his view, “it is every citizen’s right to be empowered and enabled by the essential connectivity of broadband” regardless of geography, education, income or any other demographic or political constraints.
Despite rapid innovation, universal acceptance, and reliance on technology, there is still inequality in access to broadband for a many demographics. Broadband inequality is still a stark reality even in the United States.
In a New York Times article published on 12/3/2020 “Think Local About the Digital Divide the author, Shira Ovide, tells the story of a creative solution led in part by a clean energy start-up called BlocPower and community organizations including South Bronx Churches, to bring internet to a South Bronx neighborhood. She notes, “38 percent of Bronx residents don’t have home internet, even higher than the 29 percent for all of the city.”
For many years there have existed government policies and funding strategies to deploy ubiquitous broadband access though none have fully solved the issue of the ending the digital divide to all Americans. Ovide punctuates the current status of government policy by writing, “This is not a new problem, nor are politicians’ pledges to do something about it. President Trump and now President-elect Joe Biden have said they want to bring internet service to more Americans.”
Ovide observes that the necessity to provide remote learning during the pandemic has shined an ever brighter light on the need for ubiquitous connectivity. This issue is the topic of another NYT article written by journalist Natasha Singer, “Teaching in the Pandemic: ‘This is not sustainable”
There is no shortage of articles discussing the necessity to end the digital divide. Just a few of the many are provided below.
Political Bickering Prolongs the Digital Divide
Wikipedia: Global Digital Divide Statistics
UN: The New Face of Inequality
Pew Charitable Trust: America’s Digital Divide
CNN: Biden wants to close the digital divide in the US. Here’s what that could look like
Stamford Article: Digital DivideThought Co: Understanding America’s Digital Divide