The International Digital Divide
Title: The International Digital Divide
Date (published): 08/02/2011
Date (accessed): 11/02/2011
Type of information: article
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"The developed nations must invest in information and communications technologies (ICT) in the developing world not only the close the so-called digital divide but to encourage sustainable economic development and to create new markets for international commerce.
Many observers have suggested that the gap between those with access to ICT and those without it is growing.
While the concept of a global digital divide is intuitively understood by academics, politicians and public policymakers, there is little empirical data that considers the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" at a level beyond measures of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita and its effect on the spread of ICT across a nation.
D. Steven White and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth have now developed a contemporary map of the global digital divide, which they say provides a baseline measure of the investment in ICTs needed on a per country basis in order to close the gap as it currently exists. However, they point out that because ICT is constantly changing and developing, each new technology can widen the global digital divide so it is important that any investment takes into account the diffusion of new ICT technologies.
The researchers used a model-based cluster analysis to determine cohorts of countries based on three variables: personal computers per 100 population, internet users per 100 population and internet bandwidth per person. The results indicate that the global digital divide consists of four tiers rather than the simplistic two of the rich-poor, have-have nots."