Closing the Digital Divide: Transforming Regional Economies and Communities with Information Technology
Successful strategies and principles for using information technology to transform regional and community economies exist, and they are presented here with clarity and insight in a way that is useful to both practitioners and researchers. Although the communities discussed here range far and wide, from those in Russia to Australia and to Kenya, any community can benefit from enhanced utilization of information and communication technologies.
The ways in which technology can help improve economic, social, cultural, and political conditions are as numerous and various as the communities themselves. In Central Queensland, Australia, community leaders have brought in a high-tech expert advisory system to help them control weed infestation. New Zealand and Australia have pioneered telehealth, the exchange of health care information and the delivery of some services across great distances. In Russia, wiring a community was found to be about more than mere hardware and software; vital to the process was understanding how communities provide access to information technology, how authorities and volunteers can improve computer literacy among citizens, and how connectivity can be extended to greater numbers of people. In some areas of south Asia, nongovernmental organizations have teamed up with local governments to increase access, empowerment, and e-commerce opportunities. These are but a few of the ways this volume contributes to our knowledge base about the impact of technology on economic development.
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The folks who are saying this are looking at statistics in this country, the United
States, that are showing that well over half of all households have access to the
Internet, that the proportion of minorities and low-income people who have
-0• I how this position seems to exclude the 30 or 40 percent of the population
even in the United States, still without Internet access, let alone the tens of
millions in developing countries who don't even have electricity or telephone, let
Mackay RegionLink was designed to provide a focal point for access to Internet
activity, to be easy to use, to be coordinated so that one could find the businesses
and information that were desired, and to be integrated, that is, with a consistent ...
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