This book presents data supporting the existence of a gap–along racial, economic, ethnic, and education lines–between those who have access to the latest information technologies and those who do not.
The Digital Divide refers to the perceived gap between those who have access to the latest information technologies and those who do not. If we are indeed in an Information Age, then not having access to this information is an economic and social handicap. Some people consider the Digital Divide to be a national crisis, while others consider it an over-hyped nonissue. This book presents data supporting the existence of such a divide in the 1990s along racial, economic, ethnic, and education lines. But it also presents evidence that by 2000 the gaps are rapidly closing without substantive public policy initiatives and spending. Together, the contributions serve as a sourcebook on this controversial issue.
Benjamin M. Compaine is Senior Research Affiliate at the Internet and Telecoms Convergence Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the editor of The Digital Divide: Facing a Crisis or Creating a Myth? (MIT Press, 2001) and coauthor of Who Owns the Media?
This is the best collection and analysis of the history, measurement, and policy implications of the widely discussed 'digital divide' between those who have access to new technologies and those who lag behind. A self-described agnostic on the issue when he began examining it, Compaine presents the important studies measuring differing rates of adoptions of communications technologies, draws comparisons with earlier technologies, and then invites readers to consider options for government and for an informed democracy. This is an important work that deserves attention and wide readership.
Adam Clayton Powell, III, Vice President, Technology and Programs, The Freedom Forum