Over the course of the semester my eyes have opened to just how broad the scope of Internet cultures and governance is. By exploring the digital divide for the purpose of this blog, I’ve realised that one of the most valuable components of an increasingly digitalised and convergent society access.
Access to knowledge, wealth and power can certainly increase the opportunities for growth and success within society. But I think it can be argued that access to the global, interconnected web of ever-expanding resources that is the Internet is becoming one of the more salient ways in which individuals and communities can achieve wellbeing and be included in the ongoing process of global exchange.
The digital divide is steadily being overcome in more affluent countries as their governments introduce initiatives aimed to increase the spread and knowledge of digital technologies. This is advantageous to citizens in these countries, such as Australia, the United States and Canada, as mentioned previously. But for countries like Thailand, in which internal divisions threaten social, political and economic stability, the chances for implementing a scheme for universal Internet access seems unlikely.
There is a tendency to view access to digital technology as a national issue. This only results in the perpetuation of inequality for countries that cannot support their citizens in the way that the fast-paced nature of the modern world demands.
A recently announced UNESCO initiative known as the Broadband Commission for Digital Development aims to speed up the process of addressing the Millennium Development Goals of the UN by the deadline of 2015. An ambitious plan – but it has the global scope that is needed to create a more equal network of global pathways that all citizens of the world can one day navigate.