What Can Government Do To Bridge The Digital Divide and How Can The Private Sector Be A Partner?

In reviewing some past blogs that can be found on www.opengovtv.com, I noticed an interesting article from Gov Loop’s very own Andrew Krzmarzick written June 25, 2010. Andy asks a great question then that is even more important to ask the question 7 months later.

As it appears from President Hu Jintao’s recent visit to the US this week that China is on its way to becoming the number 1 dominant economy in the world. After filming a number of conferences, seminars and events, and reviewing the tapes, it appears tome that we are failing to see how our innovation, a free enterprise economy, the Open Government, and access to information can be made to become our number one strategy to holding onto possibly a number 2 position as a world leader in terms of computer literacy and technological applications.

So if it appears that technology and the internet can become our competitive advantage, I feel it important to join Andy this morning in asking his very same question:

“How do we bridge the digital divide”? – that ignominious gap between people who enjoy ready access to web-based and mobile technology and those who lack such resources? This question is a little explored, but critical element of President Obama’s Open Government initiative. One possible answer was presented in my local newspaper last weekend in an article entitled, “Free Internet connects poor to world of opportunities.”
An excerpt:
“Downtown Raleigh’s Chavis Heights neighborhood boasts a perk that would be a plum in any community, but all the more so in public housing: universal broadband Internet access for all residents.
Unlimited e-mailing and Internet surfing are privileges few here could afford until last fall, when this low-income subsidized housing community was turned into a free WiFi hotspot.” I found Andy’s question amazingly timely in reflection as we at Open Government dig deep into the public policy issues of Net Neutrality, STEM, Green Technology, Alternative Energy and Energy Efficient fuels. I find my asking the question: What can Government Do To Bridge The Divide and How Can The Private Sector Be A Partner?

Andy goes onto say in his June 2010 article, “so free Internet might be one answer to the question. But it’s not enough and before we travel too much further down this #OpenGov or #Gov20 road, we ought to give ample time and energy to answering my initial question: How do we bridge the digital divide – that ignominious gap between people who enjoy ready access to web-based and mobile technology and those who lack such resources? Otherwise, we will perpetuate a country where wealthy, well-educated citizens make decisions on behalf of low-income folks who lack access to the process.
For me, that flies in the face of the basic intentions of a government that is more transparent, participatory and collaborative”.
Originally published on GovLoop and posed by Andrew Krzmarzick.

The answers to these questions are hard, but we should not make them hard to come by, so OGTV along with our social media Associate Stephanie Noble and OGTV Team will be spending the next few months diligently searching or solutions, and looking for the right collaborations because at the end of the let’s just say the rainbow, treasure chest, fountain of youth, or a bucket of gold, the day, or whatever you choose to believe in at the end, the end, MUST be good for raising up a people, a country, and a nation. And the country who figures that out, writes that policy, and implements it will lead and we are confident that others will follow.

Keith D. Moore


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