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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But Jaggi goes on to point out that there is no single definition of digital divide,
because in every society there is a divide between old and young, men and
women, rich and poor, black and white, northern hemisphere and southern
... technologies (ICTs) to enable conjmunity processes and the achievement of
community objectives including overcoming digital divides both within and
among communities. But CI also goes beyond discussions of the digital divide.
ICT and Twenty-First Century Challenge on Digital Divide The single pervasive
theme of the twenty-first century has been decided (ITU 2002). It is the "digital
divide," and now the challenge ahead is whether it can be bridged and converted
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