Bridging the Digital Divide

If you’re reading this, you’re privileged.

Most don’t think twice about the internet as a commodity – it’s so ingrained into our daily lives that we don’t pause to reflect on how accessible the internet truly is. Using the internet has become second nature to some, almost like how staying hydrated is instinctual when there are places – even in the US – that do not have access to clean drinking water. So, how should we view internet access? Is it an exclusive luxury or a piece of public utility that should easily be accessible to all?

Let’s talk about this.

The internet is an information playground that isn’t open to all the kids in town. Access to the internet is heavily correlated with financial circumstance as well as ethnicity and race. When this information playground is inaccessible, kids miss out in social development and lose access to programs that can catalyze their education and remove them from what may be generations of financial instability. And it’s not just children this inaccessibility effects; This analogy explains how institutional systems work to keep the disadvantaged from climbing out of their circumstances. For these reasons, the internet needs to be a public utility.

What keeps the internet open and affordable to the public is net neutrality, presenting the government and internet service providers (ISPs) a collaborative role in making this accessibility possible. The policy reason behind net neutrality is to prevent greedy ISPs from gatekeeping high-speed internet access, as well as to prevent them from blocking access to particular websites or social platforms. Net neutrality preserves access to opportunity, both in the tech startup realm and for everyday citizens, making it an important policy to keep in place.

Opportunity is a fundamental block of our Constitution here in the US. The American Dream requires equal access to all, and the internet is this dream’s super-highway. We need more innovation, better tech, and more opportunity. Knowledge really is power and we’re all powerful with the internet at our disposal. Everyone deserves access to it.

Citation:

Collins, K. (2017, December 14). Why Net Neutrality Was Repealed and How It Affects You. Retrieved August 01, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/technology/net-neutrality-rules.html