miércoles, 5 de julio de 2017

Bundling measures to fight digital poverty

As the digitalisation advances it is more difficult to find any activity which is not linked with ICTs in some manner. Both our leisure and job, our personal and professional life are invaded with technology, sometime in subtle ways other in obvious ones. Probably, if you are living this invasion with few disphoria is because you are digitally literate and not in risk of beign trapped by digital poverty.

Digital poverty is the inability to use IT, either due to the lack of access or due to the lack of skills. There are countries that are colectivelly sunk in digital poverty, but the concious of suffering it is bigger in advanced countries. Furthermore, the increase of your digital poverty degree increase your exclusion as digitalisation is progressing around you. For instance, moving public services online may have as a consequence that you will receve less public services you badly need, and therefore you will be more excluded.

Obviously, the first step of policy makers to fight digital poverty is creating the conditions for the development of an affordable internet access and providing with digital skills to the whole population. But taking advantage of digital opportunities sometimes required an extra investment, and this is happening more and more frecquently. This is the reason to promote by public authorities programs like the Amazon Prime discounts for people on government asistance. What is the value of an internet connection if you are not able to pay the services on top of it?

So bundling maybe also has a place in public policies. Perhaps in the fight against digital exclusion we should start to think in bundling different kind of services depending on the degree of digital exclusion of the target. And for this purpose we will also need some new kind of public-private partnerships, but that is another story.

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