During his visit to India, then American president Bill Clinton noted that in the 21st century, the world will be divided into IT literates and illiterates. True enough, the digital divide remains to be a pressing issue that hinders the progress of people living in developing countries and rural communities. Without access to the internet, those who live in these places don’t experience its benefits are thus often unaware of them.
Bridging this digital divide and contributing to the development of these rural areas is the crucial role that internet service providers play. Establishing traditional wired internet infrastructure is often difficult due to challenging terrains and logistical issues, which makes deploying wireless broadband in rural areas a much more viable option. From there, it is only a matter of educating and immersing the locals on how the internet can be used to address many of the pressing challenges that they have been dealing with for a long time.
The internet brings with it a wealth of educational resources that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and often free of charge. This is crucial in solving illiteracy, especially in places where the nearest schools are still quite a distance away from community centers. Having access to the internet will also help students cultivate the necessary skills needed to understand and compete in a more dynamic economy.
The number of educated members of the society in rural communities is also an important factor that influences development and adoption of technology. By bringing wireless broadband internet to these locations, more individuals will become more familiar with concepts, technologies, and practices that will be beneficial to their communities.
Reducing the Diaspora Phenomenon
People from rural localities, especially the younger generations, often move from their hometowns to urban centers in search of better opportunities for themselves and their families. This is a big problem since the youth are not only often physically and mentally more capable than their aged counterparts, but are also more accepting of modern ideas that are critical in societal and economical development.
With the help of internet connectivity, not only will there be more jobs available for people, but also more competitive salaries, thus reducing the tendency of locals to look for greener pastures outside their communities.
Creating Better Communication Channels
Bridging the digital divide also means bringing rural areas closer to the global community, which can provide training, employment, and other development opportunities. Having access to the internet significantly improves and expands a rural community’s means of communications, since they can get in touch with each other and the rest of the world without the need for expensive telecommunications equipment.
What’s more, better communication also paves the way for social awareness and development, facilitated by the interpersonal exchange of ideas. Better communication lines can also encourage more active participation from all members of the community, making them feel more invested in the development of their neighborhoods.
Encouraging Economic Growth
More enterprising individuals in rural areas will benefit tremendously from the internet. Micro- and small-scale enterprises will be able to directly reach potential customers and create a bigger market base. Meanwhile, existing businesses can boost their performance as they gain the capacity to cope with current market trends, understand consumer demands, and in turn develop new products and services.
Industries like fishing and farming, which are common in rural communities, can also experience significant improvement, as fishermen and farmers will now have access to both knowledge and supplies that will help them increase yield in a cost-effective, environmentally friendly manner. They will also be less prone to exploitation since they will become aware of current market prices.
Like any other modern technology, the internet is vulnerable to abuses. However, with its myriad positive effects and still greatly untapped potential, it is undeniable that internet connectivity is a huge contributor to worldwide development, especially in rural sectors.