Defining the Geographic and Policy Dynamics of the Digital Divide

Reference work entry


This chapter reviews the interrelationships between the digital divide and social inequality by examining the geographic dimensions associated with access to ICTs. We call attention to the National Broadband Map as a framework for examining the geographic depiction of ICT access and reflect on both what is included and excluded within this framework. While a geographical analysis is implicit in both the definition of the digital divide as well as the policy responses to overcome the problems associated with the divide, the nature of the analysis is impoverished and has resulted in failed, or at least insufficient, policies. Finally, we suggest the social justice ramifications of failing to track the continued growth of ICT inequality as technological advances continue to emerge and policies reflect overly simplified notions of digital access. We argue that a policy agenda that reflects the aim to redistribute and restructure the system by which social and cyber inequalities are intertwined might focus on the more revolutionary and visionary aspects of cyber technology itself and would require new institutional arrangements and the participation of marginalized people.


Digital divide Internet of things National broadband map Social inequality and ICTs ICT geographies 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geography and Urban StudiesTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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