1 Digital inclusion

  1. Should Internet access be a human right?
  2. Why have past interventions failed in their quest to provide internet to the Global South? What social, economic, and/or cultural issues do you believe affect the success of such programs? Should Internet access be a human right?
  3. China’s digital divide is rapidly shrinking, providing citizens more access to technology and the internet. However, due to strict censorship laws, the government heavily regulates what their citizens can access on the web. Digital inclusion is defined as “empowering people through information and communication technologies”. Despite access to technology, would you consider Chinese citizens to be technologically excluded?
  4. Since the early 1990s, efforts have been taken to expand broadband and internet access across the U.S. Currently, the major internet service providers (ISPs) in the U.S. are Comcast and Charter Communications. Due to a lack of competition and political lobbying, these oligopolistic, profit-maximizing companies have little incentive to install internet in sparsely populated towns.
    1. What regulations are in place to prevent anticompetitive ISP behavior? How has the abandonment of net neutrality hindered digital inclusion?
    2. Clinton/Gore wanted to provide all Americans with internet to remain competitive in the “New Economy”. Data shows that rural and predominately people of color neighborhoods are disproportionately left without broadband access. Fed up with ISPs, many small towns have set up their own municipal broadband – and faced prompt legal action from Comcast and Charter Communications who wanted to stop local competition. How do urban/rural divisions and race and class lines impact who is digitally included in the U.S.? What are the consequences of the current internet oligopoly? How can we fix it?
    3. If you’re outside of the U.S., are there similar discriminatory practices by ISPs?

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