View Thread > Development and the Internet > Architecture, Question 2 > THE PARADOX OF ACCESS
Are you persuaded that interconnection is a serious problem in developing countries? Where would you place the development/establishment of IXPs in the context of other measures that are capable of bridging the access divide? Given what you know about how the Internet works, and the players involved, what do you think should be done to improve Internet connectivity in developing countries? What sort of initiatives would you support and who would you expect to undertake them? Why? Do you think your answers are tied to your responses to the difficult queries posed in Discussion Question 1?
The recognition that bridging the digital divide[or its cognate, increasing interconnectivity], creates a governance challenge is perhaps a truism which leads to some obvious policy prescriptions. The demographics of many developing countries [as exemplified in the reading materials and case study]make questions of scarcity [which is primarily a politico-economic issue]less susceptible to purely "number crunching" initiatives. Yes, IXPs provide progressive steps forward to dealing with the digital divide. The "technological" questions raised by the digital divide debate cannot be dissociated from the socio-cultural dimensions of inequality in the digital environment. The birth of the Internet in the US as opposed to Bangladesh has some latent lessons about how "we" should re-think questions of organizational and institutional design to address the dynamics of differential access. All Stakeholders have a role at both horizontal and vertial levels. This idea of constructing a policy based on consensus and informed by the ethos of intergration can be supported on the basis that we cannot ignore the modalities of the market; neither can governments and all stakeholders ignore their role facilitating a network culture amongst those least able or ill-equipped to take advantage of the technological revolution. A poser: can developing countries adopt a Robinson Crusoe approach? Yes. Is it wise?