The internet has opened up doors to unimaginable wealth of information, education and commerce opportunities; it has enabled emerging pro-democracy movements in Egypt and Algiers, has empowered dissidents around the world and is closing geographical and physical gaps around the world.
The Internet is hands-down a great enabler. At the same time the gap between educated and under-educated, poor and rich, rural and urban, empowered and disenfranchised is growing – rapidly.
How are young people around the world going to engage when they have no internet access? No access to on-line education, commerce, potential jobs and clients, information, social exchange, passing of ideas, or civic engagement? The more our world moves onto the internet the wider the gaps becomes between the haves and have not’s of internet access and economic power. This is also a problem for large patches of rural areas in the United States.
There are huge patches of land, some spanning entire states with a few urban exceptions with no cell phone and internet access through wireless towers, cable or T1 lines. In the US Satellite dishes are the only solution for those remote areas, if they want internet access. Satellites are expensive to install and their monthly fees can be too much of a burden for a house hold budget.
If we want to keep up economically with the rest of the world (Asia foremost and Europe too) we have to make sure that all areas of the United States have access to broadband internet. The lost potential of talent is too great to ignore.