Digital divides in developed economies are less about limited broadband availability and more about a lack of broadband demand and complex interfaces, according to Ovum’s report "Bridging the broadband divide: challenges and solutions."
In many developed markets, broadband penetration is now well over 50 percent; however, overall broadband growth is slowing despite the fact that broadband availability is at an all-time high. This, according to Ovum, is due to either a significant minority of people not being interested in taking up broadband or significant barriers preventing them from doing so. The report outlines a number of different strategies to help to bridge the digital divides:
· Less tech, more everyday: Many people without broadband or the Internet are put off by complex devices and interfaces that cater to the technically literate. In addition, users with disabilities are largely under-served. Inclusive design needs to play a much greater role; this is achievable through widespread adoption of successful design standards and principles, and increased collaboration among commercial companies, not-for-profit organizations and public agencies.
· Embed broadband into other social and economic programs: Strategies to promote Internet usage need to work as part of wider inclusions effort: embedding broadband into education, employment, care and other programs designed to empower the socially excluded.
· Community relevance, from marketing to grassroots activity: In most cases, operators will play a key role in broadband inclusion activity, but this will be in partnership with other commercial companies, public agencies, NGOs and user groups. For example, efforts to target elderly people can involve old-age charities, targeted media coverage, local care agencies and companies specializing in solutions designed for elderly users.