Are you online? In the U.S., it’s getting easier all the time to ring up the Internet. Computers get cheaper and cheaper every year, more and more accessible. Never mind all the political chatter of a “digital divide” that you supposedly need politicians and bureaucrats to bridge for you.
The fact is, by the fall of 2000, some 51 percent of all U.S. homes had a computer, and about 41 percent had access to the Internet. Chances are, if you’re not online already, getting there just isn’t very high on your “to do” list.
But suppose you do want to log onto the Internet but have to watch your pennies? Well, the people who brought you the information revolution are eager to help. One thing they’ve done is set up an organization called ConnectNet ( Conectado in Spanish), which directs callers to local libraries and other organizations that provide Internet access. ConnectNet is funded by AOL Time/Warner. They have a toll-free hotline, 1-866-583-1234.
If there’s a true digital divide to worry about, it’s to be found elsewhere on this globe. Depending on which country you live in, you might not even have a telephone, let alone a PC and a modem. But that problem is being tackled, too, as engineers and researchers develop scaled-down and more affordable versions of the PC that can at least hook folks up to the web.
A lot more political freedom in some of these countries couldn’t hurt either. If only we could solve the “Liberty Divide,” any so-called Digital Divide would be gone in no time.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.