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Press Release: UMass Dartmouth Professors Map the Global Digital Divide


UMass Dartmouth Professors Map the Global Digital Divide

18 countries now outperform the U.S. according to study

Author:  John Hoey [Contact]
Date:  February 18, 2011
Department:   Charlton College Of Business
The United States is being outperformed in communication technology by 18 other countries, according to a recently released UMass Dartmouth study mapping the global digital divide. The study, unlike others, measured internet bandwidth per person along with traditional benchmarks including the number of personal computers per 100 population and internet users per 100 population.

The study placed the U.S. in the first of four tiers worldwide, but in the fourth of five clusters in that first tier. The U.S. was ranked lower than Denmark, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, Antigua, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Norway, San Marino, Singapore, and Switzerland. The U.S. was grouped in the fourth cluster with Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Slovak Republic, Spain, and Taiwan.

The study was conducted by Professors Steven White, Angappa Gunasekaran, Timothy Shea, and Godwin Ariguzo, who have spent the last several years mapping the global digital divide. The results challenge original assumptions that the digital divide is directly linked to the Gross Domestic Product.  The UMass Dartmouth team found that that many countries with lower GDP per capital outperformed their wealthier counterparts.

Professor White said he expects the digital divide to shrink, and the recent social network-driven uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia illustrate the trend. "The digital divide is diminishing because of the proliferation of mobile devices with Internet access,'' he said. "Because most internet access will be through hand-held devices, running costly cable to remote areas is no longer necessary. Wireless access is the growth area, and this allows poorer countries and their citizens to engage on a national and global level."

Dr. White can be reached at swhite@umassd.edu or 508.999.8267. His blog can be found at http://dstevenwhite.com .
 

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