Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Equal Accessibility to the Internet

Recently Google reorganized into Alphabet Inc., who is using their Google Fiber technology to provide Internet for those in public housing.  Currently they are beginning this project in Kansas, but they will be expanding into public housing units in other various selected cities (Fung). Google Fibers Internet, is faster than what the typical American has for Internet, which will in fact provide those in these housing units with premium quality Internet. This is all in attempt to do what Google “pledged to do four years ago: close the “digital divide” (Wells and Barr).
Closing the “digital divide” is incredibly significant, for those who are not wealthy enough to afford Internet often lose the advantages that the Internet provides. The Internet provides opportunities to find jobs, learn about what is going on in the world, and the list goes on. In this technological age, the Internet is needed for jobs that people may be currently working. Without the advantage of Internet, many of those people are at a disadvantage, to those who can afford it. This plays into the fact that Fung points out in his blog on the issue “Google Fiber already provides free service to low-income residents of Austin, Texas. But it doesn't offer them gigabit speeds, requiring those users to pay to upgrade to the next level” (Fung). The problem here is this does not close the digital divide. While it does provide those with some access, it still leaves those who are wealthier having an advantage. Now they are assuring that they will begin to provide these communities, starting with Kansas, with gigabit speeds. Interestingly enough, in the long run this does not solely benefit those who are impoverished, but it also benefits Alphabet Inc. All of Google’s main services are on the Internet, and those who are browsing or researching when online popularly use them. Therefore, if there is a greater amount of the population making use of the Internet, it is almost a definite that there will be more people utilizing Google’s services (Fung).
The articles did overlook the fact that there is a large population of individuals who are not impoverished, nor living in public housing, but still can not afford the most recent technology, such as an upgraded Internet system like Google Fiber, especially with the extra cost for gigabit speed. The articles do not address this problem of those lower-middle classes to middle class people. In addition, the articles do not address how many cities they will go to providing this Internet to the poverty-stricken. This leaves a question for the reader, whether this will be a one-time event for publicity or something that will actually expand. This leads to the other problem the article overlooked, which is why did it take them four years to complete this project, and will it be another four years before they expand to a new city?

Fung, Brian. "Google Fiber’s Plan to Give Free Internet to the Poor." Washington Post. 3 Feb. 2016. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/02/03/google-fibers-plan-to-give-free-internet-to-the-poor/>. 

Wells, Georgia, and Alistair Barr. "Alphabet, Seeking to Bridge the Digital Divide, Brings Free Fiber to Public Housing." Wall Street Journal. 3 Feb. 2016. Web. 09 Feb. 2016. <http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2016/02/03/alphabet-seeking-to-bridge-the-digital-divide-brings-free-fiber-to-public-housing/?mod=ST1>. 

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