The internet has developed into a tool that has broken many barriers between different types of people. Although the internet has limitless bounds, there is an obvious technological gap, which is leaving millions of people without the resources behind. There have been several attempts to bridge this gap between social classes in order to provide internet access for all.
What is the Problem?
Despite the rapid growth of internet usage, there are still many Americans who do not have the resources to access the internet. While the wealthier households take access the internet from home, school, and libraries for granted, the lack of access to up-to-date computers in low-income neighborhoods leave many people cut off from good jobs and a chance to participate in the affairs of the broader society.
Barriers to Closing the Gap
The lack of resources in low-income communities cannot explain the huge technology gap that is plaguing America. Many people view technology as an extra toy to their collection and do not view it as an imperative tool needed to educate America. Because many people consider information technologies part of the economic realm, proposals to use public funds to establish community access centers often encounter resistance (1998 Benton Foundation).
Many low-income communities are not exposed to new technologies, therefore they do not have a reason to voice the demand for internet access. Without any knowledge of what they are missing, they will continue to remain behind the upper class. Also, many internet providers are not aware of the need for access in low-income communities becasue of the lack of demand.
How Do We Solve the Problem?
Government policies will go a long way in the fight against divisions in internet access and determining if the new technologies will widen or narrow the gap. To ensure that this gap will narrow, regardless of income or geography, public interest must be focused on fixing this problem. There is no one answer to providing access to all, but we must work as one toward the goal. With support from many different backgrounds, this problem will be eliminated.
There are many resources available on the web that provide a more in depth understanding of the problems that lie in lower-income communities and what can be done to assist in resolving this problem. Here are a few resources that will provide more information:
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