Atanu Dey has an excellent series of posts on the relevance of ICT (information and communication technologies) for bridging the “digital divide”.
The first addresses the question and rephrases it: “How appropriate is ICT for rural and remote areas of developing countries, especially the poverty-stricken regions? Or, how should we sequence the use of ICT, both temporally as well as spatially, for economic development? That is, should we take our resources and thinly distribute it all across the country or should we focus on some areas first and then move to other areas? Should we use our limited resources to bring ICT tools to the most remote and the poverty-stricken areas of the country and neglect other areas? Should we concentrate on ICT for remote and poverty-stricken areas before we concentrate on other needs of those areas?”
The second looks at some ICT-related myths. reminding us that “ICT is neither necessary nor sufficient for development”, and elaborates on how we need to think about what is the cause of what is the effect.
The third post discusses the RISC model in the context of limited resources, which we always conveniently tend to overlook as we tend to argue that we need to put resources in the villages rather than centralising them at a conveniently accessible location. “Add up all resources for infrastructure investemnt at our disposal. Divide that by 600,000 and you have quantity x, the available resource per village. Find out the investment cost of the minimum viable unit of infrastructure and call it y. Now compute the ratio y over x and call that number z. If z is equal to or less than 1, we can provide every village with the required infrastructure base. Otherwise, we need to invest y resources in a central location that z villages will have to share.”