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Perspectives on urban and rural community informatics : theory and performance, community informatics and strategies for flexible networking
chapterposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by M Gurstein
The word seems to be coming down from Washington these days that it's time to declare victory in the war on the Digital Divide and find new targets for our public policy discussions and interventions. The folks who are saying this are looking at statistics in this country, the United States, that are showing that well over half of all households have access to the Internet, that the proportion of minorities and low-income people who have access to the Internet is increasing overall, and that the cost of Internet access including the cost of the computer to enable the access seems to have come down to a level affordable by most. Parallel developments in many other parts of the world are likely. Also in the United States, a rising proportion of minority and lower-income populations using the Internet have relieved some of the early anxiety that existing social inequalities would be aggravated in this new and rapidly expanding sphere. Public authorities are being urged to relax and let the market continue what appears to be the inexorable drive to more or less universal Internet access (with all those wanting access having access). This argument leads to an emerging position that there is no need to fund development of local technology projects or for public Internet access through community technology centers, which in other countries would be called telecenters, telekiosks, telepublicos, and so on.