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In digital divide, entrepreneurs need to step up

A reader writes that entrepreneurs and companies can help find solutions that help bridge the digital divide.


In digital divide, entrepreneurs need to step up

In response to the July 17 column by Klaus Schwab, "The digital divide: Ignore it at your own risk":

I agree with the author on his standpoint concerning the digital divide and its consequences. Soon entrepreneurs and companies will find solutions that help bridge the divides. The company I work for developed software for local governments that want to deploy e-commerce to every resident in their community. We realized that localities have the responsibility of serving each resident. As a result, inventing another product that focused on the Internet would not fulfill every aspect of an e-government initiative.

So we invented a solution that gives each resident equal access to information and services. Our convergent technology affordably combines telephone and Internet access into one platform so that telephone users can transact business and query information with the city's Web site. Thus, now Internet users have the choice of either using the convenience of the telephone or the Internet to interact with their locality.

Cities such as Denton, Texas, and Westminster, Colo., are now providing their communities with this convergent technology. The technology is well received by members in these cities. Also, system statistics reveal that residents are five times more likely to transact business over the telephone than the Internet. This comparison includes people who find that the telephone is more convenient, but more importantly this comparison illustrates non-Internet users taking advantage of accessible, around-the-clock services.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to issues involving the digital divide and educating people on how it is a real problem that affects many facets of life, including but certainly not limited to communication, business, education and the economy.

Kristina Boardman
Blacksburg, Va.