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Digital Divide

Digital Divide

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Digital Divide

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Presentation Transcript

  1. Digital Divide Should the public subsidize computer and/or Internet access for underserved areas and communities? YES!!!!!

  2. The Digital Divide - Discovered!!! • 1995- National Telecommunications and Information Administration first identified the problem of digital divide in their report “Falling Through the Net” • CJ’s Personal Testimony

  3. Social Issues • Computers and technology are becoming an integral part of society and education • It is necessary to provide children with the skills to make sense of and use the information. • The percentage of schools with internet access increased from 35% to 99% from 1994 to 2001 • Reliance on technology serves to exacerbate preexisting inequalities • Providing access to technology helps create opportunities for social mobility

  4. Social Reasons cont. • Subsidized access could help cut down onracial and socioeconomic disparities • 77% of Whites use a computer at home, while 41% of blacks and Hispanics do. 31% of students from families earning less than $20,000 use a computer at home, compared w/ 89% of those w/ incomes of over $75,000 • Increasing technological access is key in eliminating poverty

  5. Past Government Strategies to Deal with the Digital Divide • The Clinton Administration: • Called for the opening of new government community centers and the development of a plan to make computers accessible to all Americans • E-Rates: From Digital Divide to Digital Opportunity • A multi-billion dollar effort to broaden access to technology, provide individuals with skilled teachers and the training necessary to master the information economy

  6. Drawbacks to Government Initiatives • Although the presence of internet access in public schools has increased, studies have shown that there have not been significant increases in standardized test scores in schools that received subsidies? • What does this say about the program??

  7. The Current Government’s Agenda • “In America no child should be left behind. Every child should be educated to his or her full potential” -The Bush Administration 2002-

  8. The Bush Administration’s Actual Agenda • 2005- The United States Government cuts funding for Community Technology Centers (a program run by the Department of Education) and the Technology Opportunities Program

  9. Economic Considerations • Everyone can benefit ! • The initiative to bridge the digital divide is highly sustainable ! • Priced out of market - income and expenditure considerations !

  10. Bridging the digital divide Everyone benefits! • Sustained or even reduced subscription/network prices • Individuals have increased capacity to engage in economically productive activities • Positive effects on the community • Positive effects on other communities at large

  11. Bridging the digital divide Is it sustainable? • Software - easily accessible as downloads are off the web; cheap/free • Hardware - consumer cyclical goods that only need to be renewed every cycle (six, eight years?)

  12. Bridging the digital divide Is it sustainable? • Policy design should be governed by its merits • Sustainability issues are important but secondary considerations

  13. Bridging the digital divide Economic poverty = “Information poverty” • Inequalities between ‘physical and electronic spaces’ mutually reinforce each other • Digital divide contributes to the increasing income gap between the rich and the poor in America

  14. Bridging the digital divide Priced out of market? • U.S. annual per capita income and household income for • African Americans: $15,197/ $30,439 • Hispanics: $12,306/ $33,447

  15. Bridging the digital divide Priced out of market? • Used computer unit: 250 USD • Software: 50 USD • Internet subscription: 360 USD • Total: 660 USD • 2.0-2.5% of annual household income for African Americans and Hispanic families!

  16. Bridging the digital divide • “Desktop computers are available at relatively low (and constantly declining) prices… the public should not subsidize computer and Internet access for under-served areas and communities because it is not the responsibility of the government to provide a market-based commodity.” FALSE

  17. Bridging the digital divide • “The percentages of households with computers and Internet access have continued to increase over the past several years… there is no reason to assume that these trends will not continue… computer and Internet usage will become nearly universal without additional government interference.” FALSE

  18. Bridging the digital divide How? • Cluster-system in public spaces within inner cities? • Partial fee structure to encourage ownership of resources?

  19. Bridging the digital divide CONCLUSION