One of the world’s most serious problems is the widening gap between rich and poor, wherein a small percentage of the global population enjoys unprecedented affluence amidst widespread global poverty that may actually be getting worse. One aspect of this disparity in wealth is the digital divide, the enormous differences in access to modern information and communications technology (ICT). Millions across Africa, Asia, and Latin America struggle daily to survive in dire poverty, while others in the industrialized world enjoy the conveniences provided by modern communications technologies, work in offices made more efficient and effective through the use of new technologies, and take advantage of new educational opportunities afforded by ICT.
One of the most unfortunate by-products of the digital divide is its negative impact on educational efforts throughout the developing world. Digital technologies provide exciting new opportunities for students in the industrialised world to obtain large amounts of current information on almost any topic, to communicate their thoughts in dynamic new ways, and to work more efficiently than ever before possible. Without access to the benefits of ICT, students in less developed countries may fall even further behind their peers in other nations.
Hence Thinglobal/Thinetworks solution that enables shared resource computing has created a huge opportunity for automation in various sectors that require virtual desktop infrastructure that include education,health and government especially in Africa.
The digital divide within:
Yet another digital divide exists within every nation, between an affluent minority and the rest of the population.
The very limited ICT resources of the least developed countries are concentrated in the hands of a very few, so that ICT access for the vast majority is extremely limited or non-existent. Among Botswana’s wealthiest 20% of the population, 11% had telephone access, but among those in the next quintile (60–79th percentile), who are economically better off than most of the population, less than 1% did. For the rest, there was no phone access whatsoever (World Bank, 2000). This aspect of the digital divide needs to be addressed just as seriously as do the aforementioned gaps in ICT development between industrialized and non-industrialized nations.
Very tiny percentages of the population in most Asian countries have accessed the Internet. In fact, in two-thirds of these Asian nations, less than 1% of the population has ever used the Internet.
The critical issue of cost:
Not only is technology in short supply within developing countries, but the costs for Internet service and automation are often significantly higher than they would be in an industrialized country.
It is clear that in countries where utilisation levels are lower, corresponding costs for connectivity are higher.
Of course, high costs discourage online access, so this situation is yet another critical aspect of the digital divide problem. Until the costs for Internet and automation service can be reduced in poor countries, levels of online access are not likely to increase very significantly. However, at the moment, the telecommunications services of most developing countries are monopolistic, outmoded, inefficient organizations that provide low levels of service at rates they
themselves can establish rather arbitrarily. Deregulation and privatization of telecommunications sectors are very much needed throughout the developing world, to introduce competitive pricing and more efficient models of
providing service (International Telecommunications Union,