Challenging Digital Inequalities: Barriers and Prospects

Challenging Digital Inequalities: Barriers and Prospects

Norman Bonney (The Robert Gordon University, UK), Olufemi Komolafe (The Robert Gordon University, UK) and Elizabeth Tait (The Robert Gordon University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-056-1.ch125
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Abstract

There are substantial inequalities in access to and use of the Internet. These inequalities build on enduring social and economic inequalities that have themselves been rooted in previous rounds of the development of electronic technologies and have largely resisted public policies designed to remedy them. Rapid developments in the use of the Internet have great potential for commercialization and democratization, but digital inequality means that this potential is not always exploited to the advantage of the poorer sectors of the community. Recent public policies have attempted to remedy digital disadvantage, but there is little evidence that they are fundamentally transforming them. Constant innovation enables the more advantaged sectors to advance their position, while many are still excluded from compensatory attempts at catch up. An increasing body of experience suggests ideas for new approaches, but the magnitude of the challenge of eroding digital inequality should not be underestimated.

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