In the New York Times there was a wonderful post on the New Digital Divide. I hope you have read it It is here for your reference. When I “stump speech” in the places of need, of distance, of lack of professional development, of unsupported technology, of NCLB caused science deprivation this might help. Maybe. The Digital Divide will always be, because of the advances of technology. That means I realize that there is the forward advance of technology and we are always trying to catch up.
I was recently razzed by a professor who asked me why I keep talking about the” Digital Divide”. I think why is a no-brainer, and because I am a minority, and often work in places of need, I have a perspective that few people have. I also helped to create the NIIAC documents which frame the initial use of technology in the United States and was a participant in the World Summit on the Information Society.
The NIIAC organized its activities into three Mega-Projects:
- Vision and Goals for the NII
- Access to the NII
- Privacy, Security, and Intellectual Property and the NII
What Is the NII?
The phrase”information infrastructure” has an expansive meaning; the NII includes more than just the physical facilities used to transmit, store, process, and display voice, data, and images. It encompasses a wide and ever-expanding range of equipment that includes cameras, scanners, keyboards, telephones, fax machines, computers, switches, compact disks, video and audiotape, cable, wire, satellites, optical fiber transmission lines, microwave nets, switches, televisions, monitors, printers, and much more.
I am fascinated by the expanding technologies that become a part of the NII. Supercomputing especially gets my attention. Broadening engagement is a passion of mine.
I have worked a lot internationally in technology and media. Within SITE, Dr. Paul Resta has documents that give us international information and research from UNESCO.
People who have access to technology platforms, often forget those who have the information divide, the content divide, the technology support and understanding divide and the understanding of the use of technology as social media. We have lots of people who careless just refer everything to their website.
On the news stations too, there is the call to ask everyone to communicate their thought. With the use of smartphones there are admittedly more people who can ” speak up” but there are dark places on the US map where even cell phone use is a problem. I have a friend who has two cell phones because she works in ways across a geographic area and one cell phone works in one place and the other in the deeper areas of the state. On some remote Native American reservations there is a lack of electricity. There are places in the US where there is no place to rent a computer, or make copies, or access broadband unless it is done by satellite. Been to Montana lately. The FCC had a meeting there and a reality check.
Having a piece of technology, the computer, the IPad, the Smart phone, the Readers, GPS, and Garmin, digital cameras and other tools. I call them the devices,is interesting. Everyone does not have all of the devices. Maybe that’s a good thing. On a holiday with family if was funny to see how many devices there were. Then I was thinking how regular is that? How do people learn how to use the devices? How do they decide which device to use?
Digital Citizenship is also a part of my concern about the Digital Divide.http://digitalcitizenship.net/ is a website that gives some information. The Internet is every changing and serves as a platform for a spectrum of humanities lives, sociality, featuring publications and platforms.
We would hope that the advance of Broadband and outreach to the people who have no ability to connect would be a concern for all.
A year ago we had this report.
Over a third of people in the United States do not access broadband at home, and nearly the same percentage “do not use the Internet anywhere,” according to a new survey released by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. That’s “not anywhere” as in not at home or work—no Facebook, no texting, no tweets, no e-mail, nothing. It’s a six percent drop from two years ago, but still a big chunk of America.
“The report confirms that at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, too many Americans still rely on slow, narrowband Internet access or do not use the Internet at all,” said NTIA chief Lawrence Strickling in the report’s foreward. “Although life without high speed Internet service seems unimaginable for many Americans, for too many others, broadband is still unattainable.”
Three years ago Strickling’s lament might have come off as bit precious. If people don’t want to engage in social networking, blogs, YouTube, P2P, or e-mail, so what? And a Pew Internet & American Life project released a year ago indicated that two-thirds of broadband-less Americans said that they didn’t even want it.
But this document tells a different story. It comes as applying for a job or going to college has become difficult or impossible without access to a broadband-powered device. A sizeable slice of those surveyed still say they’re not interested in the ‘Net. A majority, however, give more troubling reasons for their absence from cyberspace. They don’t have a good enough computer, they confide—or they have no computer at all. Or they feel they lack the skills to go online. And big percentages of them complain that broadband at home is too expensive.
The NTIA’s survey, it should be noted, came as Federal Communications Commission Chair Julius Genachowski gave a sneak preview of the agency’s National Broadband Plan . The document will call for 100 million homes to have 100Mbps Internet access, Genachowski said, and the US should have the world’s largest “ultra-high-speed broadband testbeds.” Plus Internet adoption rates should hit at least 90 percent—which is way beyond what the NTIA says we’ve got right now.
Less “not interested”
What’s telling are the specific responses those polled gave for why they don’t access the ‘Net. 47.2% of 2009 respondents still said “don’t need/not interested.” But 22.3% said they felt that they didn’t have a good enough computer—or any computer at all. 8.6% called the Internet “too expensive.” Over four percent cited “lack of skill.”
And when Americans were asked why they have no Internet connection at home, the “don’t need/Not interested” response dropped to 16.7% of those polled, while “too expensive” jumped to 38.9%. And whenhome dialup Internet users were asked why they don’t upgrade to broadband, the not interested crowd shrank to 7.3% while the too expensive set ballooned to 41.3%.
These numbers don’t differ by much when NTIA compared rural and urban responses: 22.3 percent of rural area residents called a broadband upgrade too costly; 27.6 percent of city dwellers reported the same. But a sizeable number of rural Americans also checked the “not available” category—11.1%.
All this data confirms the convention wisdom—when people get a taste of the ‘Net, they want more of it.”
How can you find what your speed is and what kind of connectivity there is in one’s respective area.
Use tools running on M-Lab to test your Internet connection.
Use these tools running on M-Lab to test your internet connection and perform diagnostics.
About the tools:
- By using these tools, you help advance research by contributing valuable data about broadband performance.
- The tools only collect data related to the specifically orchestrated communication “flows” between your machine and the M-Lab server.
- The tools do not collect information about your other Internet traffic, such as your emails, Web searches, etc., or any personally identifiable information, unless you affirmatively provide it in response to a specific request, such as a form that asks you to provide your email address, etc..
- All data collected by the tools will be made publicly available.
- All tools are created by individual researchers, not M-Lab itself.
Test your connection speed and receive sophisticated diagnosis of problems limiting speed.
Test whether certain applications or traffic are being blocked or throttled on your broadband connection.
Diagnose common problems that impact last-mile broadband networks.
See how much bandwidth your connection provides
Determine whether an ISP is performing traffic shaping.
Apply to host a router device to test Internet connectivity over time.
Detect whether your mobile broadband provider is performing application or service specific differentiation.
Collects statistics about the TCP connections used by the measurement tools running on the M-Lab platform.
NDT (Network Diagnostic Tool)
Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT) provides a sophisticated speed and diagnostic test. An NDT test reports more than just the upload and download speeds — it also attempts to determine what, if any, problems limited these speeds, differentiating between computer configuration and network infrastructure problems. While the diagnostic messages are most useful for expert users, they can also help novice users by allowing them to provide detailed trouble reports to their network administrator.
More technical Information on the web at the above address
Want some other tool to measure your broadband?
M-Lab is one of many projects exploring ways to help users more clearly understand the performance of their broadband connections. If you’re interested in exploring further, here are a few other active projects that we know about. (Note that these projects are not associated with M-Lab.)
- The FCC’s “Test My ISP” project:
Together, the FCC and Samknows are setting out to provide US consumers with reliable and accurate statistics of their broadband connections. If you are interested in using one of our units to measure your home broadband connection, then please sign up below. You will get to play a part in changing the face of the American broadband industry and you also get a free high-speed wireless router!
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “Test Your ISP” project and Switzerland client: “[Switzerland is] an open source software tool for testing the integrity of data communications over networks, ISPs and firewalls. It will spot IP packets which are forged or modified between clients, inform you, and give you copies of the modified packets.”
- Northwestern University’s Aqualab Project and Network Early Warning System plugin for Azureus: “Passively monitor[s] your BitTorrent performance and check[s] for changes that might indicate problems with the network.”
- Harvard Berkman Center‘s & StopBadware.org‘s Herdict: “Herdict Web aggregates reports of inaccessible sites, allowing users to compare data to see if inaccessibility is a shared problem.”
- BroadbandCensus.com: “A user-generated census of broadband speeds and availability.”
- SamKnows Broadband: Provides broadband information in the U.K. and runs a performance testing program in collaboration with individual users.
- University of Washington’s Web Tripwires: “Measur[ing] how often web pages are changed [by an intermediary] after leaving the server and before arriving in the user’s browser.”
- NNSquad: “An open-membership, open-source effort, enlisting the Internet’s users to help keep the Internet’s operations fair and unhindered from unreasonable restrictions.”
- GCTIP Forums: “a free discussion environment to act as a clearinghouse for all stakeholders (technical, consumers, ISPs, government-related, etc.) to interact on the range of “network transparency” and associated topics.”
- A group of researchers at Georgia Tech have created NANO, a Linux-based application that identifies performance degradations resulting from differential treatment of specific classes of applications, users, or destinations by a network operator. Future versions of NANO plan to make use of the M-Lab platform.
- The Netalyzr analyzes various properties of your Internet connection that you should care about — including blocking of important services, HTTP caching behavior and proxy correctness, your DNS server’s resilience to abuse, NAT detection, as well as latency & bandwidth measurements — and reports its findings in a detailed report.