Digital Divide

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Digital divide is defined as the distance between those with access to the internet and those without. Digital Divide is a problem that stretches to all corners of the world. It affects not only people here in the U.S. but also countries across the globe. Two questions have to be asked in all this. The first is “Does the Digital Divide really exist?” and the second is “What is the real impact of the Digital Divide?”

The idea of Digital Divide did not come into play until the early 1990’s with the passage by then President Bill Clinton of the High Performance Computing Act. What this act did was to provide funding for a high speed fiber optic network which would go on to become the internet that we use today. This enabled home computers to become more useful which in turn caused the number of personal computers in the U.S to skyrocket to over ten million in a five year period. (Rapaport, 2009) In all this a new department in the Clinton Administration was formed, The National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The NTIA is the President’s main advisor on information and telecommunication and was co-founded by Albert Hammond, a White House aide. (Rapaport, 2009) It was Hammond in addition to NTIA administrator Larry Irving that came up with the phrase “Digital Divide” This phrase eventually began to appear in then V.P Al Gore’s speeches. As time went on, computer and internet prices began to fall. With these falling prices came the idea that the Digital Divide was closing. The new presidential administration did not have as great an interest in digital access and eventually “Digital Divide” became “Digital Inclusion.” The NTIA was eventually downgraded and its budget taken away. These actions eventually and effectively ended the NTIA

The question of it the Digital Divide is real can be answered by looking at the numbers, A report done by the Pew Research Center shows that one in five American adults does not use the internet, with senior...
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