Read the whole post -- it's a great review of the issue with lots of useful links.
Beyond the political rhetoric and research numbers, there are real people stuck on the wrong side of the digital divide in communities around the nation and the world. Sue Shipitalo, who is trying to help bridge the divide in rural Ohio, wrote to me about her own personal experience having to use dial-up.
“I find the issue of broadband access important in so many ways, the unequality of accessing basic information,” she said via email. “Those who have high speed access can’t imagine living without it. For me when I hear ‘go online to view the rest of this segment’ or ‘access our podcast,’ I know that those things are out of reach for me. I feel left out. My kids are left out.”
In an editorial in her local newspaper, Shipitalo made an eloquent case for universal access by mentioning three times she could not access information online — from government sites — because she was using a dial-up line. While she has worked hard to bring attention to the problem, she has grown tired of all the talk with little action:Our volunteer groups have worked hard to illustrate the need for improved technology services. However, I believe that resources need to be dedicated to developing a strategic technology plan for our Coshocton County. More importantly, there needs to be a central coordination of efforts where information can be exchanged and utilized for the benefit of all.
So, we have need and we have talk. Who does the issue of equal access to the Internet fall to in our area? Where is the leadership going to come from to pursue this issue which is so important to economic development and the personal development of the residents of Coshocton County [in Ohio]? How important is coordinating the efforts, both public and private, to best research and utilize the resources available to us?
(h/t Benton Foundation Headlines)