Vulnerable people are being left behind by the digital revolution (Bentley, 2014). The digital world is now responsible for a vast majority of communications, commerce and information sharing among other uses. Bentley (2014) states that the Australian government could reduce the amount of tax payer money allocated to Centrelink if all users made claims and inquiries online. Bentley (2014) also estimates that one in five Australians are without access to internet. These Australians are left without easy access to government services and job searches.
Bentley (2014) also believes that the Australian economy would prosper from closing the digital divide. 100 online transactions can be done in the time it takes for one face to face sale to be completed (Bentley, 2014). Higher sales rates will enable money to be cycled quicker through the economy. The cost of computer hardware has declined over recent years meaning most Australians can afford to have a relatively cheap computer or digital device in the home. However, affordable and reliable broadband is still sparse. Australians in rural areas and those of low socioeconomic status are still being excluded from the digital revolution. Internet company Telstra has formed a ‘Access for everyone’ program that will supposedly cut down the cost of internet services to those struggling in Australia. However, reports suggest the cost of internet through Telstra’s ‘Access for everyone’ is not low enough to be considered affordable to those in need (Bentley, 2014).
In Europe having access to internet is considered a basic human right. The lack of effort given to bridging the digital divide in Australia gives the impression that internet services are of less importance to the economy and well-being of struggling Australians. One remembers back a few years ago to when wireless broadband was going to be free in select suburbs surrounding the city. I live in a suburb connected to the wireless broadband network but am yet to be able to connect to, and therefore benefit from this network. Has anyone else noticed that they are still paying for internet that should supposedly be supplied to their home free of charge. Perhaps more questions should be made to the local and state government as to where this tax paid funding has gone and give them a push in the right direction of abolishing the digital divide and taking the lead of Europe to enable all to have access to the internet.
Bentley, P. (2014). Lack of affordable broadband causing ‘digital divide’. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-02/bridging-the-digital-divide/5566644.
Nanchev, L. (2013). The digital divide and the complexities of the digital era (IMAGE). Retrieved from http://spotlight-universityofbedfordshire.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-digital-divide-and-complexities-of.html.