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CSC 208 – Information Technology for Business

Table of Contents

Pages
Table of Contents …………………………………………………………………………………1

Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………….2

Meaning of Digital Divide ………………………………………………………………………..3

The Problems of Digital Divide ………………………………………………………….….….4-5

The Solutions to Digital Divide …………………………………………...…………………….6-7

Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………....8

Reference List ……………………………………………………………………………………...9

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CSC 208 – Information Technology for Business

Introduction

Information and communication we do business and they way we


technology (ICT) has modernized all communicate. In addition ICT has also
characteristic of our lives. The rapid benefit on society and economy. For
development of the internet technology has example, with the help of ICT in education
enabled us to communicate, collaborate, and sector, students who have access to the IT
present our business online. People use resources will have more advantages
handheld devices, mobile phones, laptops compared to the peers who do not have
and desktop computers to connect the access to IT resources. Secondly, people
internet. People commonly use internet to who don’t have accessed to IT will have
send and receive emails, to research disadvantages in economic sector because
information through World Wide Web, to the world economy at present is operating
upload and download files through internet, by ICT. Lastly, people who have access to
to make video conferencing through internet will have better knowledge of
internet, and use internet for social information about national issues that are
networking proposes. Furthermore ICT has not being released in the television or radios.
changed the approach to education, the way (Rebecca Harlin, 2005)

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CSC 208 – Information Technology for Business

The meaning or concept of digital divide and ICT

The term digital divide mean it is the gap between the information haves, (people who
have sufficient access to ICT such as computers and the Internet) and the information have-nots,
(people who have limited or no access) for either socio-economic or geographical reasons, or
because of disabilities. This term also describe the different between those who have skills,
knowledge and abilities to use the technologies and those who do not. The digital divide can
exist between the more and less educated, the more and the less wealthy, between those living in
rural areas and those living in urban areas and on a global scale between more and less
industrially developed nations. The term of
information and communication technology
(ICT) is the study or business of developing and
using technology to process information and aid
information. As use of ICTs is becoming
increasingly integrated into the normal processes
of daily and business life therefore the negative
impact of the digital divide on the organization
of society is likely to become much more
sensitive. (Wikipedia, 2008)

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CSC 208 – Information Technology for Business

The problem of digital divide

The problem of digital divide exists in many part of the world. The parts of the world that
have a leading amount of internet access are in northern part world, such as the Europe, United
States, and Northern Asia, where as access is more limited in the poorer less developing parts of
the world are in southern, such as India, Africa and Southern Asia. The problems digital divide
are lack of infrastructure, lack of affordability for internet connections, lack of education for the
use of information communication technology and economic growth between industrialized
countries and developing countries.

Firstly, the problem of digital divide is that lack of infrastructure such as telephone lines,
computers with modems, and electricity. Many developing countries around the world are lack
of infrastructure, some countries have few hour of electricity supply per day or no electricity
supply at all and some countries do not have telephone line. For example, 85% of world’s
populations do not have a telephone line. The average telephone quantity in the developing
countries is 6.9 per hundred residents but the industrialized countries have 59 telephone lines per
hundred residents. Furthermore telephone lines in Africa are only available in capital cities, even
though 10% of population lives there. Therefore, it has made the situation even worse by the low
average quality of telephone networks. In addition, the majority of population had a computers
are in northern part of the world. For example, 57% of the population in USA had a computer
and 29% of the population in European had a computer and 2.9% of population in Asia had a
computer and less than 1% of population in Africa has a computer. Lastly, developing countries
has a shortage of electricity supply. Without electricity people cannot get internet connection.
For example, 70% of the rural populations in Africa have no electricity. Therefore, people in
Africa has very low amount of accessibility to internet. To conclude, lack of infrastructure in
developing countries has created problem of the huge digital gap. (Claus Zanker, 2002)

Secondly, the problem of digital divide is that internet connections are unaffordable costs
for users in south. And monthly internet access fees are being charge by the average percentage
of monthly income. For example, average monthly incomes of internet users in USA are 1.2%, in
Bangladesh are 60%, in Nepal are 278% and Madagascar are 614%. For instance, an average

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CSC 208 – Information Technology for Business

income person in Bangladesh needs to save eight years of earnings in order to purchase a
personal computer. Furthermore, most of the people in developing countries are offline due the
lack of affordability. For example 70% of internet users worldwide live in North America and
Europe, whereas Africa and South Asia is 0.4% internet users or nearly completely offline.
(Claus Zanker, 2002)

Thirdly, another problem of digital divide is that lack of education for the use of
information communication technology (ICT). In many countries, many people don’t
understand the literacy and content of how to navigate the internet or how to use the computer
because in their high school or college they have never got a chance to study about the use of
ICT. This problem can be also reasoning for most of the people are offline. (M/Cyclopedia, of
New Media, 2005)

Lastly, effect of digital divide has raised the problem of economic divide between
developing countries and industrialized countries. ICT has helped positive economic outcomes
by making markets more visible through greater access to information technology and increase
the accuracy and speed of business-to business communication and it also reduces the transaction
costs of all business. Nowadays many industrialized countries economic growth are mainly
affected by the help of ICT internet infrastructure because these countries can afford better
telecommunication therefore they can make business faster and more efficient with the rest of the
world. On the other hand, people who live in developing countries have limited access to ICT
resources therefore they will have huge disadvantages in economic sector because the world
economy at present is operating by ICT. As a result, industrialized countries of economic growth
rate will be increasing rapidly by the help of ICT and developing countries of economic growth
rate will in constant rate. (M/Cyclopedia, of New Media, 2005)

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CSC 208 – Information Technology for Business

Solutions to overcome the digital divide

The best way to resolve or minimized the problems of digital divide can be done trough
involvement of four main players such as institutions of higher education, the industry, the
government and the rural community.

Firstly, the digital divide can be minimized by setting up the cyber cafes or community
information centers to educate the people who are poor, uneducated and living in the rural areas.
These centers will have computers and skilled people who will guide to those who do not
understand English to use the computers. Furthermore these centers will be equipped with
important software such as Internet browsers that can gain access to internet resources and
Microsoft Office suit that are use everywhere around the world. (Zaitun & Barbara, 2005)

Secondly, institution of higher education within the country should introduce more
computer education programmes or IT literacy programmes in schools. And all the schools in the
country need to be equipped with computers for the purpose of computer education. Furthermore
setting up more public universities in rural area is important because they can educate the people

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CSC 208 – Information Technology for Business

who are living in rural areas and these universities should offer computer science or information
technology degree programmes. (Zaitun & Barbara, 2005)

Thirdly, the role of the industry in the country is to have good infrastructure in order to
eliminate the digital divide. The industry should make sure that availability of basic energy
infrastructural facilities such as telephone lines and electricity are accessible anytime. In
addition, the foundation of internet and email services will be a unique communications
infrastructure in the country. The establishment of wireless technologies will bring internet and
email services to the rural areas where there are no telephone lines available. Furthermore many
organizations in the urban areas are continuously upgrading their computer facilities in order to
stay up to date with the information technology. Therefore old computers which are still useable
from the organizations should be donated to the community centers and schools in order to
minimize the problem of digital divide. The most important role of the industry is to ensure that
power supply or electricity is sufficient within the country, because without electricity people
can’t touch with ICT. (Zaitun & Barbara, 2005)

Next, the role of government is to introduce new supporting policies to aid its people to
bridge this digital divide. First of all, the government should remove all the taxes on the
computers and internet services, with the concept of bringing the price down. Secondly,
government should encourage organizations to build more factories in order to produce local
own computer hardware for both local and overseas markets. Next, government should support
students by given a lowest interest loans rates, so that it will encourage students to buy
computers. (Zaitun & Barbara, 2005)

Lastly, rural communities’ role is to fully make practical and effective use of IT skills to
establish themselves in careers related to ICT field or opportunities to allow them to conduct
business with the outside world. For example, the individual is being trained in the community
center and once the individual is ICT literate then this individual will educate other individuals in
the local community. These community hubs could then be make use of by the residents to do
the trading with parties from outside their villages and it will even allow them to join in the e-
commerce activities. (Zaitun & Barbara, 2005)

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CSC 208 – Information Technology for Business

Conclusion

The digital divide has cause an important problem in many parts of the world. The
developing poor nations are incapable to afford to invest the information and communication
technology to allow their nation to have and maintain internet access. Therefore, this puts these
countries into an economic competitive disadvantage. Furthermore, a country not having internet
access means that schools are unable to teach IT skills and take advantage of the huge amount of
information which is available on the World Wide Web. In addition, with a lack of IT skills
people from these countries are unable to compete their market or business at an international
level. The problem of digital divide can be overcome by the solution, involvement of four main
players such as institutions of higher education, the industry, the government and the rural
community. But there are some difficulties to overcome the problem of digital divide are that the
rich is getting richer at the disadvantage of the poor and digital divide between old and young
generations. Firstly, the rich can afford internet access and modernize by the information
technology whereas the poor inhabitants in the community are not unable to afford internet
access payments even though the government reduces taxes. Therefore the rich are getting richer
with the benefit of access to the internet resources and while the poor inhabitants in the
community aren’t able to keep up. Secondly, many companies are moving their business
activities onto the internet. Nowadays, many people use internet because internet contain huge
amount of information available on the net and social networking sites allows friends and family
keep in touch. But there is a considerable divide present between the older and younger
generations. The older generations at the age 70s didn’t have the internet access in their times, so
they have never taught IT skills therefore they have no idea how to interact with computers. And
it is hard to educate them to use internet or computer because since they are already old, they
have high chances of getting forget things. The younger generations at the age of 20s knows how
to interact with internet or computer because they were being taught in their school. Therefore
this is another issue that is difficult to overcome the digital divide.

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CSC 208 – Information Technology for Business

Reference List

Claus Zanker, 2002, ‘The Global Digital Divide – Problems and Solutions’, online, date accessed
01st February 2009, Available from: http://www.input-consulting.com/download/berlin-
dd-eng.pdf

M/Cyclopedia, of New Media, 2005, ‘Digital Divide – Bridging the Divide - Education and
Development’, online, date accessed 09th February 2009, Available from:
http://wiki.media-ulture.org.au/index.php/Digital_Divide_
%E2%80%93_Bridging_the_Divide_-
Education_and_Development#Education_.26_Development

M/Cyclopedia, of New Media, 2005, ‘Digital Divide – Impacts – Economic Growth’, online,
date accessed 09th February 2009, Available from: http://wiki.media-
culture.org.au/index.php/Digital_Divide_-_Impacts_-_Economic_Growth

Rebecca Harlin, 2005, ‘Are We Addressing the Digital Divide? Issues, Access, and Real
Commitment’, redOrbit.com, online, date accessed 01st February 2009, Available from:
http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/163994/are_we_addressing_the_digital_divide
_issues_access_and_real/

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2008, ‘Digital Divide’, online, date accessed 09th February
2009. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_divide

Zaitun A. B & Barbara Crump, 2005, ‘Overcoming the Digital Divide’, Malaysian Online
Journal of Instructional Technology, online, Vol. 2, No. 1, date accessed 02nd February
2009, Available from: http://pppjj.usm.my/mojit/articles/pdf/April05/10-Zaitun-final.pdf

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