RS 2: Pakistan

Bridging Digital Divide in Pakistan

According to Yaseen Chaudhary, a news reporter, the country of Pakistan is not only experiencing a digital divide but also a gender digital divide. Chaudhary wrote an article in ProPakistani titled “Bridging Digital Divide in Pakistan” in February of 2011 discussing the many aspects of the divide. In this article it is mentioned that the previous decade in Pakistan has been noted to have been a revolutionary one in terms of information and technology. In the past decade broadband Internet services as well as cell phones have replaced the use of Internet cards and landlines. Though these advances have taken place in bigger cities, a big portion of Pakistan’s citizens that live in “rural areas are still greatly devoid of this phenomenon.” The Internet is noted to be a tool that can alter social condition, which is why the digital divide is taken very seriously. Since the digital divide is a serious matter the USF: Universal Service Fund; a group founded by the government of Pakistan, promotes the increase of telecommunication services in underserved areas throughout Pakistan. Some objectives of the USF include: “bringing the focus of telecom operators toward the rural population as well as increasing the level of telecom penetration in rural areas by the fair use of the funds.” Another objective includes improving the overall broadband penetration in the country as a whole. Not only is Pakistan faced with a digital divide among their people, but they are also faced with a “Gender Digital divide”, this is where girls do not know how to use a cell phone and a computer. Steps at trying to bridge the digital divide and gender digital divide in Pakistan include: A survey of each district and village of the country in order to access the level of the dilemma. Pakistan has also been trying to provide support and the necessary tools to equip the low-income citizens. Another effort includes providing the public with clear goals and direction for the project. These efforts listed are only a few measures that have been made in trying to bridge the gap. The main goal in this bridging process it to allow the flow of “knowledge to every corner of the country and uplift the standards of the poor classes of [the] country and allow for a better functioning economy.”

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