What is the effect of digital divide?

Essay by michelle9182High School, 12th gradeB, July 2004

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Digital Divide:

1. Introduction:

As technology is continuing to develop, large numbers of people are using the Internet to obtain information and this is increasing rapidly. Communication technology is providing a better system of exchanging information in large amounts at a lower cost. This increases the opportunity for businesses to expand globally and provides opportunity for success. This report will explain what the digital divide is and to what extent the concept of the digital divides of concern both internationally and in Australia is.

2. Definition:

According to what is. techtarget.com, digital divide is the facts that people who do and people who don't have access to and capacity to use modern information technology can be divided society, such as the telephone, television, or the internet. These differences exist due to geography, race, economic status, gender and physical ability.

3. The Australia Digital divide:

3.1 Difference in access between socio-economic groups:

In Curtin's article (2001), indicates that there is a range of social factors influences the existence of digital divide, which include age, gender, income and education.

The research shows that the young are likely to access to Internet compare to those in the age from 25 to 54, and people who are over 55 have lower rates of access. Moreover, Curtin (ibid) examines two parent families and points out that the single mother household is less likely to be on-line. Curtin (ibid) also said that people have high income and education access to Internet more than these have lower income and education.

3.2 Difference in access between geographic areas:

According to Lloyd and Hellwig (cited in Curtin, 2001), metropolitan Australians have highest access rate 40% while 28% in Provincial centers with populations greater than 2500. In addition, those unemployed in rural areas are much likely to have Internet access at home compared to the unemployed in metropolitan areas. Therefore, in Australia, the geographic also is a big reason why the digital divide exists.

4. The international digital divide:

4.1 Differences in Internet use between developing and developed countries:

According to the report prepared by Bridges.org (2001), the digital divide is of concern and exists in developed and developing countries. There are much less internet users in developing courtiers with limited infrastructure, low income and literacy levels such as Middle East, Africa and Latin American. On the other hand, Canada & USA & Europe take up approximately 280 millions over the world total of 407.1 millions who use the Internet. Nowadays, the gap between developed and developing countries still increased.

4.2 Differences in Internet access between developing and developed countries:

Access to the Internet is also an issue between developing and developed countries. The differences in Internet access exist between the world's rich and poor countries. In April 2001, Netsizer estimated there were 77,170,600 in the US, following in Japan and in Canada, UK and Germany also occupy great percentages. (Telecordla 2001b; cited in report prepared by Bridges.org, 2001). Many developing countries have less than ten or even zero. The gap exist may be because of the usage of other new technologies, such as telephone, computer and bandwidth speed.

4.3 Factors influencing the digital divide:

There are some factors, prices, access speed, cost and web surfing and relevance of content influencing the digital divide. First of all, poverty remains the greatest barrier to Internet growth in developing countries. According to OECD 2001b (cited in report prepared by Bridges.org, 2001), due to the cost of technology relative to per capita income, access costs are four times as expensive in the Czech Republic and Hungary as in the USA. Then, with dial-up connections that the access speed is relatively slow, which means that the cost would increase rapidly, fewer people can afford this. Finally, because of the dominance of English, in non-English countries, people who don't understand English cannot self-express and local communicate. As a result, the Internet becomes less useful to their lives.

5 Conclusion:

While the Internet has benefited part of the world's population, however, the gap of the usage of Internet between developing and developed countries may increase in the future. This report has demonstrated that the digital divide is that at major concern internationally, being evident between developed and developing countries while it presents in Australia it is so to a much lesser extent.