Digital Divide Between developed and developing countries

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Kose, Seda; Krishna, Sudha; Pringsulaka, Proadpran; Espinoza, Javier; Choi, Hongryel
Operations Research, Systems Engineering and Industrial Engineering
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Abstract:As the digital economy moves our world towards greater prosperity, the goal of the world should be to ensure that all people, regardless of age, income, race, ethnicity, disability, gender, or geography, gain access to the technological tools and skills needed in the new economy. Commonly used tools that are highly beneficial in today's digital revolution are telephones (both wired and wireless), computers, and the internet. As the Internet is becoming an increasingly vital tool in our society and technology provides increasing options to citizens to conduct their daily activities on line, such as shopping, paying bills, registering and renewing licenses, etc. People who lack access, knowledge, and training on how to utilize those tools are at a growing disadvantage and will eventually be unable to function in an ever-increasing information-based society. This paper analyzes various aspects of bridging digital divide and provides tools/access as the first step in bridging the digital divide. Personal knowledge and ability to utilize technology to improve quality of life, education and employment opportunity have considerably gained more importance to community and economic development of the country. This paper focuses on digital divide between less developed country, South Africa and developed country, United States. The key to understanding the digital divide is to look at it in broader terms - a digital divide exists anytime there is a gap in opportunities experienced by those with limited access to information technology. This paper analyzes various issues faced in bridging digital divide and provides recommendations to gap the existing digital divide between developed and developing countries.