One of the most vital aspects of sustainable development is the role of technology. Access to internet, cell phones, and other technologies are incredibly important to staying connected and not feeling isolated from society and the rest of the world. Moreover, technology can propel economies to develop. With universal access to technology, economies are able to enter new markets and connect with others. Yet, many still do not have access to the Internet and other technologies. Without digital data transfer, one’s choices are limited in multiple different aspects. In other words, academic, political, economic and educational opportunities are restricted without access to the Internet in today’s world.
The Maitland Commission Report was submitted by the Independent Commission for World-Wide Telecommunications Development in 1985. It highlighted the imbalance of telecommunications access in developing countries compared to developed countries. Essentially, the report outlines a direct correlation between access to telecommunications and a country’s economic growth. This report is most interesting because it is a valuable piece of literature that points to the need for modern telecommunications development. Similarly, the World Summit on the Information Society was a summit with two phases, one taking place in Geneva in 2003, and the other in Tunis in 2005. Not only did this summit aim to bridge the global digital divide between rich and poor countries, it was located in both what is termed the Global North and the Global South.
Similarly, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is located within the U.S. Department of Commerce, oversees telecommunications policies. The goal of NTIA is to provide universal access to affordable telephone service throughout the United States. Through their research titled Falling Through the Net, the organization focuses on both rural and urban settings that do not have access to the internet. Their research also highlights the disparities between minority and age groups as well as those less educated. The Falling Through the Net report explicates that the lowest telephone and computer access is prevalent in Northeast cities and in areas in the South. Ultimately, the NTIA explicates that it is necessary for federal, state, and local policymakers to first target public schools and libraries to provide access to disadvantaged families, and then expand NII networks into individual households. Having been published in 1995, I find it fascinating that in almost 20 years access to the Internet has grown exponentially. It is almost impossible to imagine not having any kind of access, although it does persist in certain areas.