It’s easy to imagine that the “World” Wide Web is a truly connective platform. A place where anyone, regardless of race, class, or any other demographic can connect to an instantaneous realm of limitless information and connectivity. The internet functions as an incredible tool that links people from all sorts of places and backgrounds, sure. But how inclusive is this network we’ve created?
4.4 BILLION people in the world — Yes. Billion. (For you math savants, that’s over 50%) have never been online.
Define: Digital Divide
An economic and social inequality according to categories of persons in a given population in their access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies.
Google, big spenders and technological Lewis & Clarks they are, have decided to take on the project of bringing Internet access to those in need. They have recently invested $1 billion in Space Technologies Exploration. Essentially, the hope is that one day we will be able to send satellites into orbit that would provide Internet access worldwide, no exceptions.
The potential for a truly “World” Wide Web is real. However, the complications that come to my mind are those of bureaucracy and cold, hard cash. I can easily see a world in which Internet is available to all, but for a steep fee. Red tape and class divisions will continue to be a hugely detrimental force in the digital world until someone realizes that in the 21st century, information should not have a price.
Click here to learn more about how you can help bridge the digital divide in your own community.
Sources: nytimes.com, npr.org