Digital divide is a concept that refers to the gap that is created between the individuals or businesses or geographical areas at a number of different social and economic levels which is due to the lesser opportunities or ease of accessibility to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). A huge difference is created between the people or communities that can make use and benefit from the Internet as compared to the ones that do not get the privilege to do the same (OECD, 2016). The digital divide is further explained on the basis of four parameters as Who, Which, How and To What.
- Who is the primary subject that performs the connectivity: Individuals, Businesses, Households, Country, Community and many more.
- Which are the attributes that define the divide that is created: Educations, Age, Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Geographical location and many further.
- How sophisticated the usage is: Accessibility, Connectivity, Usage, Amount of Usage, Opportunities etc.
- To What does the entity connect to: Computer Systems, Mobile Devices, Tablets, Workstations etc.
Reasons for Digital Divide
There are a number of social, cultural and economic factors behind the digital divide which are described as below:
Households and individual who are educated in a better way get more opportunities to use Internet and understand the benefits that are possible with the same. On the other hand, the ones those who are not qualified much do not get the advantages of the same and hence, do not make an effort to utilize the web.
- Economic Condition
This is one of the major reasons behind the digital divide. There are households who can easily afford the hardware, software and network requirements for accessing the Internet and communication framework whereas some are not privileged to attain benefit from the same.
- Race and Ethnicity
There is also varied difference of the usage of ICT between the different races and ethnicities that exist all around. Some of the races make more use of the Internet whereas there are certain races where this number is surprisingly low (Cs.stanford.edu, 2016).
- Age and Gender
This is also one of the major factors that have contributed towards the growth of digital divide. People belonging to a particular age group or gender tend to make use of ICT more as compared to others.
Changes with Solutions to Digital Divide
- Huawei banded together with the biggest neighborhood transporter in Bangladesh to start the Phone Lady extend and set up Communication Information Centers (CICs) to give UAS. The point of the activity is to expand the accessibility of phone and data access administrations for occupants in country regions and empower them to profit by financial and social achievement. Through this activity the bearer connects with a substantial number of nearby proprietors, the majority of whom are female, by organizing advances from the neighborhood bank for buying cell telephone gadgets and giving preparing on the best way to work the administration. The activity has ended up being an extraordinary achievement in determining the UAS issue in provincial ranges and has prompted expanded monetary exercises and encouraged general correspondences. The transporter and Huawei will encourage extend UAS to data administrations, for example, the Internet and related administrations.
- The transporter composes the neighborhood aggregate units and a few proprietors to build up CICs that the proprietors autonomously own and work. The CICs capacity as client administration focuses that give administrations, for example, pay telephones, e-revive, printing, checking, replicating, and additionally notices and news (counting the cost of homestead items, government sites, and occupation data). Subsequently, individuals in remote zones can have better salaries, discover occupations, get data on homestead items, and expansion the general monetary action of the locale.
- The "Telephone for All" anticipate (initially advanced by the Maitland Commission over two decades back) has accomplished a specific measure of progress. As indicated by the most recent report by the ITU Secretary-General, its goal has essentially been accomplished. The world's top need for the following a quarter century is to connect the computerized separate brought about by national information systems (broadband) and make "Broadband Inclusion for All" a reality. In any case, developing national broadband systems frequently requires a significant venture and both open and private segments must endeavor to accomplish this objective (Huawei.com, 2016).
Apart from the above efforts taken to close the gap of digital divide, there are many countries who have been pro-actively working to bridge this divide. The top most in the list and the initiatives taken are as listed below:
The city-state's legislature has one of the world's best scopes of online administrations and e-cooperation instruments and positions behind just the United Arab Emirates for the effect of data innovation on government productivity. Singapore offers the most helpful business and development environment worldwide and the second most computerized prepared workforce (second, behind Finland.) With such fruitful ground, it is not amazing that advanced use is so across the board: Singapore brags the most elevated infiltration of portable broadband memberships per capita. However Internet uptake is shockingly low: just seventy five percent of the populace utilizes the Internet all the time, far lower than pioneers Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. This generally low uptake does not avert more than a large portion of the populace being utilized in learning escalated occupations, the second most elevated after Luxembourg.
Following two years at the top, Finland slips to second place however positions best on the planet on abilities and has a fabulous political/business environment and framework. Together with reasonable access, these variables have driven across the board use among subjects and organizations. In spite of the fact that it has not yet discovered approaches to completely rebuild its huge data innovation industry, Finland has overwhelmed Japan as the nation with the most astounding number of licenses per capita. The administration is reexamining approaches to advance the computerized business and these endeavors are relied upon to stem the decay of government online administration conveyance and e-interest that have lost the nation the top spot.
The country’s political and business environment stays one of the top-notch on the planet regardless of a slight decay. Incredible framework, moderate access, and a very gifted populace mean data innovation utilization is across the board among organizations and the populace on the loose. This action is pondered in enormous effects the economy and society. Swedish organizations are exceedingly imaginative in making new items and administrations, pioneers in licensing ICT-related innovation, and half of the Swedish workforce is currently utilized in information serious occupations.
- The Netherlands
The Netherlands scores extremely well on political and administrative systems, the business and development environment, and for framework and abilities. In any case, one test remains reasonableness, where the nation positions 72nd on the planet. That has prompted low versatile and portable broadband memberships. In any case, singular utilization is generally wide: the nation positions third for access to PCs and broadband. The Netherlands has a portion of the most abnormal amounts of business-to-business and business-to-buyer Internet utilization and the administration remains a pioneer in giving access to taxpayer driven organizations on the web, so making Dutch e-support the world's ideal.
Norway has the best computerized framework on the planet and Norwegians are second just to Icelanders for access to the Internet. Norway likewise scores exceptionally on measures of the effect, with versatility of the workplace and utilization of advanced in training both positioned third on the planet. Half of specialists are utilized in learning concentrated occupations, and Norway positions 6th for the successful utilization of computerized to enhance access to fundamental administrations (World Economic Forum, 2016).
Recommended Solutions for Controlling Digital Divide
The following solutions have been suggested to bridge the gap that is created with digitization.
- Mapping the community assets
It is extremely important to understand and analyze the current state of community assets before beginning to work on the path of bridging the gap. There must be complete details such as number of households that can access web, number of devices owned, accessibility status of each household, problem areas and likewise. These figures would help them in the process of creating opportunities to those who do not get the privilege to access and use Internet.
- Providing support to the local non-profit organizations
There are a number of local not-for-profit organizations that are diligently working towards minimizing the digital divide. Government and an individual as an own must provide the support to such organizations so that the fruitful results are seen and are seen quickly.
For instance, Oakland Technology Exchange – West provides fixed up computers and customer assistance to the people.
- Discover and keep track of low-cost offers
There are a number of service providers that offer various service plans ranging from high to low rates. It is necessary to do a good research to find out a suitable plan at lower rates to have a cost-effective solution in place (Dugan et al., 2014).
- Allow the use of unlicensed white space
White space is a term for TV and radio frequencies that aren't as of now being used for existing channels. Initially, these additional frequencies were pressed between channels as a kind of cradle so as to forestall obstruction. Be that as it may, organizations have since discovered approaches to work on these channels without bringing about any intrusion to neighboring projects. Moreover, a worldwide move to computerized TV and radio from simple has authorized a considerably more extensive swath of range. Computerized signs can transmit on contiguous channels without making a disturbance either. Since country territories have a tendency to have admittance to less existing diverts in any case, they would have significantly more extra range. New gadgets including cell phones, tablets, and PCs that know how to identify unused range can utilize it to transmit remote broadband signs. These frequencies are particularly valuable since they can convey a great deal of information over long separations and reach inside.
- Bring the dig-once process in practice
At whatever point an organization needs to introduce another optical fiber link to give better Internet access to a house or group, it should first contract bulldozers and a development team to burrow a way to the new destination. In the event that various organizations need to convey fiber to the same territory at various times, they may end up burrowing the same course once more. It's straightforward why this procedure is costly and troublesome to local people. There is a much less demanding and less expensive methodology would be for governments to require street development groups to lay a solitary course close by each new street as they are building it, through which all future fiber optic links could be strung. Universal advancement banks could do likewise for the undertakings they support.
- Creation of local content
To welcome the following billion clients, organizations and technologists need to connect with profoundly with nearby groups to figure out whether and how they expect to utilize this entrance. That way, said the specialists, systems can be worked out in ways that best suit those reasons. At the end of the day, reacting to real interest for the Internet is as essential as formulating new plans to offer it. One key part of that reaction is creating nearby substance that is applicable to potential new clients in their local dialects. Numerous administrations have started to offer online administrations for business, duties, or licenses, which is one approach to create nearby substance. Designers are likewise seeing accomplishment with nearby locales and applications that individuals offer with each other in a specific area (IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News, 2016).
Digital Divide is a term that refers to the gap that has been created due to the accessibility and opportunity to use to the Internet for one section and the inability to do so for the rest. This gap is seen on a global platform and there are multiple reasons behind the same. The primary reasons that have been seen behind the problem of digital divide are the ones related to education, age, gender, economic condition, race and ethnicity. In all of these factors a particular section of individuals or community gets better opportunities and accessibility to Internet and communication technology whereas the other does not get the same. There have been many efforts put in by the Government and the non-profit organizations as well to minimize the gap. The top countries that have received successful results in attempts to bridge the gap are Singapore, Finland, Sweden, The Netherlands and Norway. There are many other solutions which can be adapted to minimize this difference such as proper assessment of the available resources and mapping them to the requirements. Also, to support the local non-profit organizations and keeping a track of available service plans that are cost-effective in nature is of utmost importance. There are a number of frequencies that are not used by the devices such as television and radio and can be utilized to provide web services to the people. Adapting and adhering to the practice of digging just once and using the local content can be of good help as well.
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