Bridging the Digital Divide

March 2000
by Reid Goldsborough

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“Opportunity for all requires … having access to a computer and knowing how to use it. That means we must close the ‘digital divide’ between those who’ve got the tools and those who don’t.” Thus spoke President Clinton in his final State of the Union address, reiterating his views on the importance of information technology. In his proposed fiscal 2001 budget, Clinton has earmarked funds to connect classrooms and libraries to the Internet, train teachers in information technology, and create one thousand community technology centers. Clearly there’s a need for government action here. “The ‘digital divide’ … is now one of America’s leading economic and civil rights issues,” according to the US Department of Commerce’s most recent report on the subject. Many people lack access to the Internet, particularly minorities, the poor, the less educated, and those living in rural and inner city areas. What’s more, the gap separating the information haves and have-nots is widening, according to the report. Some argue that government involvement will increase costs to those already connected and lead to regulation of the Internet’s content. Others point to overriding issues, arguing that everyone today has the inalienable right to life, liberty, and surfing the Net.”Internet access is increasingly necessary to fully participate in the democratic process,” says Richard Civille, Executive Director of the Center for Civic Networking. “Those connected have greater access to informa…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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