What is the Digital Divide?
The digital divide is the gap between demographics, regions, and personal choices that separate the computer literate an the computer illiterate. This is the difference between persons with access to modern information and information platforms. The digital divide exists between:
- the educated and uneducated
- between socioeconomic groups
- globally – nations that have access and nations that do not or have limited/restricted
The digital divide can be seen in low-performance computers, lower-speed wireless connections, limited access to subscription-based content and more…
The digital divide is very real. In a 2013 study, the U.S White House broadband report showed that only 71% of American homes have adopted broadband.
How can we improve on the digital divide?
There are many ways to improve the digital divide including:
- improved literacy
- social mobility
- economic growth
- economic equality
3 Companies Helping Bridge The Digital Divide Gap
Amazon Prime Student Subscription
Prime student seeks to bridge the digital divide for students. If you have a .edu email address you can sign up for Prime Student. This give you access to a free six-month Amazon Prime trial. You will receive free two day shipping on eligible products, unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and media, unlimited photo storage and student exclusive discounts/deals. At the ends of the trial, you will be eligible for 50% off a Prime membership.
2. Comcast’s Internet Essentials
Internet Essentials seeks to bridge the digital divide for low-income families. It provides families discounted monthly broadband internet service. They also provide the hardware on a need basis. The program takes bridging the digital divide a step further by also offering extensive free digital literacy instruction, on-line and in-person in English or Spanish.
3. The Accountability Lab
The Accountability Lab is trying to bridge the digital divide gap globally. They are currently working with the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism in Liberia to build an open data hub and government information portal. This project combined with mobile penetration and internet literacy initiatives are helping provide critical information to thousands of citizens in Liberia.