The Value of Breaching The Digital Divide

Modern International Affairs analysis is often putting forth the perspective that increased access to technology will always benefit populations. This is true, but why? A 2011 Mckinsey Global Institute Report “Internet Matters: The Net’s Sweeping Impact on Growth, Jobs, and Prosperity” found that in the countries studied (mature economies) the internet accounted for 10% of GDP growth over the past 15 years. Now, internet connectivity has exploded since 2011, and there are a multitude of innovative programs designed to bring this technology abroad. Despite this rapid growth and innovation,  challenges to connectivity remain. A  2015 report by UNESCO and the UN International Telegraph Union (ITU) found that 57% of the world’s population remains without access to  internet connectivity, and the economic opportunity it presents.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda is designed to address these challenges, but how exactly will we implement  global programs that do so? The World Economic Forum has published in April of 2016 a “Framework for Accelerating Internet Access and Adoption”  and outlines the positive steps taken by governments like Hong Kong, South Korea, Columbia, Senegal, Chile, and Paraguay to increase internet growth in their countries. The report makes important note of the value of domestic regulatory policy, and how governments can ease entry barriers for broadband connectivity. This will likewise also decrease the price of the technology. Public- private partnership is key, as is technological experimentation. A  unique  innovation to compensate for investing in infrastructure for remote countries is offering services that complement the internet, and regulating  them. This helps render industries that were otherwise unprofitable worthy of investment. If we are to increase the accessibility of internet we need to take actions to lower its cost for those disconnected.

The internet is also a powerful force for strengthening governments and citizen participation in governance. The World Bank Internet Accessibility Report 2016 illuminates this reasoning in chapter 3, though the report does make note that the value of citizen participation to policy makers is often contingent on the strength of the countries institutions.Online activity  and accessibility is not an automatic answer for economic development or strengthening governments. That being said, with concerted efforts the internet can be a sustainable equalizing tool for the globe.

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-11-00-13-pm

 

Views: 44

Tags: #ICT, #broadband, #connectivity, #development, #internet, #participatorydemocracy

Comment

You need to be a member of Global Ethics Network to add comments!

Join Global Ethics Network

Comment by Austin Schiano on January 9, 2017 at 12:20pm

Thank you Al ! Interested to hear your thoughts!

Comment by Al LeBlanc on January 9, 2017 at 10:51am

Interesting - thanks for sharing !

Carnegie Council

Global Ethics Forum Preview: The Ethics of Big Data with danah boyd

Next time on Global Ethics Forum, Microsoft Research’s danah boyd discusses the ethical and political implications of big data and artificial intelligence. In this excerpt, boyd explains to journalist Stephanie Sy some of the disturbing issues that arise when machine learning and algorithms are used in the criminal justice system.

What the Qur'an Meant: And Why It Matters with Garry Wills

Northwestern's Garry Wills says that he was surprised to learn that Islam is a much more "inclusive" religion than Judaism or Christianity.

The Future of War: A History, with Lawrence Freedman

"Though most of the literature you will read on the future of war certainly talks about war as between regular armies, as proper fights, now with drones or with autonomous vehicles or robots or whatever, or even painless--cyber and so on--yet actually the reality of war is as it has always been: it is vicious, and it is nasty, and it kills the wrong people, and it does so in considerable numbers."

SUBSCRIBE TODAY

GEO-GOVERNANCE MATTERS

© 2017   Created by Carnegie Council.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service