A Case of Digital Divide in Bangladesh

10 October 2016

A case of Digital Divide in Bangladesh Anisur Rahman Senior Asst. Director and Head Library and Information Division Northern University Bangladesh Anisur Rahman, “Access to Global Information—A case of Digital Divide in Bangladesh. ” Proceedings of the IATUL Conferences. Paper 25. http://docs. lib. purdue. edu/iatul/2007/papers/25 This document has been made available through Purdue e-Pubs, a service of the Purdue University Libraries. Please contact [email protected] edu for additional information.

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Access to Global Information—A case of Digital Divide in Bangladesh Md. Anisur Rahman Senior Asst. Director and Head Library and Information Division Northern University Bangladesh 3/18 Iqbal Road, Asad Avenue Mohammadpur, Dhaka 1207 Bangladesh Email: [email protected] com Abstract. ICTs can reduce communication costs and break down geographical borders. In the developed nations government policies are being established which attempt to ensure that all citizens will get the opportunity to access the effective use of ICTs in order to enable them to participate in the educational, social and economic activities and democratic processes.

Developed countries are getting much benefit from the advancement of ICTs. There is digital divide between developed and developing countries. The term digital divide has been applied to the gap that exists in most countries between those with ready access to the tools of ICTs, and those without such access or skills. In other words, it is the gap between the have’s and the have not’s. The digital divide around the world is usually measured through statistical indices such as the number of telephone lines, personal computers, websites and Internet users and their ratio to the total population.

This paper reviews the papers on issues related to digital divide that are affecting so many citizen in developing countries especially in Bangladesh and the factors that alienate people from enjoying the benefits of ICTs. The author recommends possible strategies that can be implemented in developing countries to reverse the widening gap of digital divide. Keywords: Digital divide, ICT, Internet, Bangladesh 1. Introduction Computers, modern telecommunication and the Internet all reduce communication costs and break down geographical borders.

Information and communication technologies serve as powerful tools for empowering people, benefit business and virtually link people around the world to share their views, ideas and innovation. 2. Concept of Information Technology Information technology today handles information in every conceivable form, whether music, video, graphics, speech, data, text. It also embraces an increasing range of technologies. Information technology is the use of modern technology to aid the capture, processing, storage and retrieval, and communication of information, whether in the form of numerical data, text, sound, or image.

IT has a great impact on the societies. IT has impact on employment, education and training, commerce, at home, arts (music, animation and visual effects, writing, games), and all aspects of public administration and national defense. 3. Digitization The globalization and localization of information and cultural values are basically predicated on digital technology. The invention of e-mail and the WWW leading to digital transmission 1 is the certainly the second digital revolution. Digital scanners and cameras can now be used to capture digital images for importation into computer systems.

In the current information revolution, almost everything is digital TV, radio, air-conditioned, cars, airplane, refrigerators, industrial plants and telecommunication systems. 4. Digital divide This digital revolution has created a brand new economic sector that simply did not exist before. Computers, modern telecommunication and the Internet all reduce communication costs and break down geographical borders. In addition, ICT can be an important driver in poverty reduction and assure sustained conomic growth, better public welfare, and strong social solidity and democratic forms of government. In the developed nations government policies are being established which attempts to ensure that all citizens will get opportunity to access the effective use of ICTs in order to enable them to participate in the educational, social and economic activities and democratic process. Developed countries are getting much benefit from the advancement of ICT. So, there is a digital divide between developed and developing countries.

The concept of the digital divide has been used to highlight difference in electronic access to information based on economic, race, ethnic or social group and/or geographical location. The term digital divide has been applied to the gap that exists in most countries between those with ready access to the tools of ICTs, and those without such access or skills. It is “a gap, which tends to deepen, is produced between those individuals that can access new information and communication tools such as phones, TV sets or the Internet, and those who are too poor to get them between the have’s and the have nots” (de Munster, 2004).

Population residing in developing countries or in low-income countries may be unable to gain access to IT because of the inability to purchase the required equipment, Internet provider service or other necessary resources. It may not be possible to bridge the divide, but it is important to prevent it from deepening, as a minimum, and to attempt to narrow it as much as possible. According to Reuter’s reports at Berlin on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 “the digital divide is narrowing as citizens in emerging markets get online via computers and mobile phones, with some regions now on a par with developed nations” (Reuters, 2006).

Peter korsten, European director at IBM’s Institute for Business value said “within China and India, regions like Shanghai and Bangalore have almost the same level of Internet and mobile phone connections as developed nations” (Reuters, 2006). 5. ICT status in Bangladesh The ICT status of Bangladesh is not remarkable without some favorable initiatives by the Government and by private entrepreneurs. Computer use in Bangladesh started with a mainframe computer in 1964.

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