What Is Digital Divide ?
Simply put, digital divide is the difference between those who have access to a computer and internet, and those who do not. Many of those who are missing from the web, are from either developing countries or remote/rural areas.
How Do We Bridge The Gap Within The Digital Divide.
In order for us to bridge the gap, and provide internet access to the entire world we must discover new ways of doing so. It calls for complete innovation. However, this is a very complex concept with no overnight solution. As of now, there isn’t one clear way. Fortunately, there are companies and organizations putting forth their best solutions.
It feels as though every single person you know uses Facebook. From the distracting girl sitting beside you in lecture to your forever confused grandparents. However, this is not exactly the case. There are billions of people all over the world who do not have access to Facebook via the internet. Mark Zuckerberg (co-founder of Facebook) being the genius he is, views the digital divide as a market that is yet to be touched. He has teamed up with other companies (his ‘competitors’) to bring internet to billions of people. They plan to accomplish this by marketing a program called “Free Basics by Facebook”. Free Basics would provide services such as Facebook, healthcare, news, etc free of charge to those in less developed countries. All the user would need is access to a mobile device.
In it’s most purist & simplest form, Project Loon is designed to use hi-tech balloons to provide interest access to those in remote areas. The balloons will be located “on the edge of space.” and be connected like a network. Internet will be sent up from a base location to a balloon and similar to the domino effect, be relayed through each balloon until it reaches it’s required destination. An example is shown below.
Who Benefits From Mass Internet Access.
The first layer of people who benefit from the internet, are the people themselves. It allows them to increase their education , connect with a wide range of family members and even access healthcare services. It opens up a brand new world for them. The second layer however, is the companies and organizations providing the access. We could all sit back with the wool pulled over our eyes pretending they are doing it just for the people. However, at the end of the day it always comes back to money.
Mark Zuckerberg and the Google Corporation seen the financial possibilities connected with the internet. They make their profits from their product (us). Therefore, they are potentially adding billions of products. This is not to say that what they’re doing isn’t an amazing opportunity. Regardless, of the kickback these companies may get, they are doing a wonderful thing for all of those who are missing from the web. They are bridging the gap of the digital divide.
Free Basics. (2016). Retrieved September 16, 2016, from https://info.internet.org/en/story/free-basics-from-internet-org/
Balloon Powered Internet For Everyone. (n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2016, from https://www.solveforx.com/loon/