Moving from the Digital Divide to Digital Inclusion


  • Cheryl Parsons
  • Steven F. Hick


Examinations of the so-called digital divide – commonly thought of as the divide in access and use of technology according to income – have been underway for the past decade. The notion of a digital divide, which is still very real as we will see in this article, has raised concerns about how to bridge the divide. Many analysts have advocated technology access programs; but are they the right direction or are they enough. Some are calling for policies that promote digital opportunity instead (Declaration of Principles, World Summit on the Information Society, 2003) and others advocate for digital inclusion. This article will review the multiple aspects of ICT in relation to the concept social inclusion. We argue that the concept of digital inclusion as opposed to the concept digital divide, more accurately captures the phenomenon of ICT gaps. We conclude that because of the narrow digital divide frame of reference (access and use behaviour) existing policy and programs do not address the broader issues implicated in the digital gap as the priorities of business and e-commerce supersede citizen rights and social inclusion.