closing the global digital divide A call for home grown solutions.

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Closing the digital divide has become a priority for most countries in the world as the delivery of public services becomes electronic. For example, in the United Kingdom, a study conducted in August 2000 showed that whilst most individuals were aware of the presence of the internet, and knew where to purchase enabling technologies such as computers, 44% had used the internet (Russell and Drew 2001).


For instance, the mobile phone can be considered to have lessened the digital divide as a result of its ability to saturate the market, but one could argue that this has largely been due to lower costs being passed onto the customer. The study by Russell and Drew (2001) acknowledges the impact of the mobile phone by not including this technology in the survey.
"The digital divide is also most likely to affect lone parents and those who are already at a disadvantage in the community such as individuals with disabilities and those with little or no education" (Russell and Drew 2001). Narrowing the digital divide in this instance would be particularly advantageous to these groups as such technologies would probably facilitate communication and social involvement. For example, those with mobility problems or severe restrictions on their mobility can partake in online forums and groups to reduce social loneliness. Internet technologies also enable communication in the way of video calls for those not able to travel. Local and central governments are also introducing online services such as paying for car related services (e.g. car tax, renewals and applications) online (DVLA) which reduces the need to travel thus adding convenience. ...
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