Digital gap

Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 23:46 | Posted in computer, internet | Leave a comment

Broadband access to the Internet for an affordable price seems so elementary these days that we often tend to forget that it is not something to be taken for granted for a large number of web users. I have hard time imagining that I would live in a place where broadband connections were not readily available and provided by competing ISP’s to keep the price reasonable. And yet, the BBC reports that just 60 % of Internet users in OECD member countries have a broadband access to the web.

According to the OECD report, there is a big gap in the price level and connection speed between different countries. I recently upgraded my shared connection which rarely reached up to 1 Mb/s to a 2 Mb connection and would not even dream of going back to old times. It is very difficult to imagine how 40 % of web users in OECD countries can cope with dial up connections. I pay the reasonable price of 29,90 € a month for my connection. Dial up cost would easily be much higher than that with my usage level.

Graphics by the BBC
Graphics by the BBC

The figures above show the cheapest entry levels to broadband within the OECD. The most expensive country in this comparison is Mexico with $52.36 for a 1 Mb/s connection. The digital gap is even broader than that if you consider that the average income in Mexico is much lower than in the cheapest broadband countries.

Projects like One Laptop Per Child are enormously important to level the digital gap. However, how useful will that laptop be for those children who have no chance to hook it up to the web?

Thanks, Kalle, for dropping me the hint. 🙂

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