“Digital Divides” and Service Dispersal: Towards a Broader Understanding

“Digital divides” have been a key part of advancing development in the 21st century. With the great utility of computers and cell phones for business, banking, education, and political participation, bridging these “divides” to ensure access to various digital technologies. Bridging these divides is good for development, but the issues which limit access to electronic technologies around the world affect the distribution of other essential parts of modern life as well. By understanding the key contributors to digital divides, I believe those working on many aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals can understand hurdles which may face development in other fields.

In particular, thinking of the issues with rural accessibility to telecommunications services and similar issues within sanitation campaigns in rural areas run into the same sorts of barriers. The low population distribution, compared to rural areas, means that investments in infrastructure for telecommunications and sanitation are both cost-intensive and lack the quick ability to access a large number of people in urban areas. This means that political willpower is key in development for projects where the payoff may not be as immediate.

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