Sept - Dec 2016
Global Digital Innovation
Edu Tech 


Households with Internet access: significant urban – rural divide

Household access to the Internet is the ultimate way of guaranteeing an inclusive information society in which all people, irrespective of age, gender, employment status, etc. or possible level of disability, can access the Internet within the privacy and proximity of their own home. A policy aimed at universal access to broadband

Internet will eventually ensure access for all households nationwide. Household access is also mostly shared access, whereby all family members can use the same service and share the subscription fees.

The latest ITU data show that by end 2014, almost 44 per cent of the world’s households will have Internet access at home, up from 40 per cent one year earlier and 30 per cent four years earlier. Household Internet access is growing steadily, and strongly, at 9 per cent over the past year. Global growth is mostly driven by developing countries, where household Internet access is growing at 14 per cent as compared with around 4 per cent in developed countries. By end 2014, 78 per cent of households in developed countries will have Internet access, compared with 31 per cent in developing countries and 5 per cent in LDCs. In absolute terms, the number of households with Internet access in developing countries surpassed those in developed countries in 2013, and doubled between 2010 and 2014. A comparison across regions reveals huge differences: while 78 per cent of households in Europe have Internet access and numbers are approaching saturation rates (with 2.4 per cent growth in 2014), only 11 per cent of households in Africa have Internet, and growth remains at a high 18.4 per cent, which is more than twice the world average growth rate.

The Asia and the Pacific region boasts the highest number of households with Internet Percentage of households with Internet access, by level of development, 2005-2014  and by region, 2014 access in absolute terms, with close to 350 million estimated by end 2014, i.e. almost as many as in the Americas and Europe combined.

However, the large majority of them are in China and India. If we take out these, the two largest countries, the number of households with Internet access in the region amounts to (only) 109 billion. Penetration rates in the Asia and the Pacific region are well below the global average and some two-thirds of the household in the region are not yet connected to the Internet. As is the case with other indicators, there is a significant urban-rural divide when it comes to household Internet access. In countries where data are available, rural household access falls far below urban household access, with differences ranging from 4 per cent (meaning that household Internet penetration in urban areas is 4 per cent higher than in rural areas) in highly developed countries such as Japan and the Republic of Korea to 35 per cent in developing countries such as Colombia and Morocco. In Guatemala, urban households are 12 times more likely to be connected to the Internet than rural households (Partnership, 2014).

Available data also show that Internet access in rural households is growing slowly much more so than urban access, leading to a widening gap. In low-income countries and LDCs, the differences are presumably even more pronounced, but data are not readily available for those countries. As has been illustrated earlier, network deployment is still limited and affordable services are much less available in rural areas, thus preventing rural households from purchasing Internet services. At the same time, the benefits brought by ICTs and the Internet are especially impactful in rural areas, which often also lack access to other infrastructure and public services. Therefore, connecting rural households to broadband networks should remain a priority for policy- makers in all countries.

In view of these divides and the low level of household Internet access in rural areas of developing countries, public access to the Internet plays a greater role in those areas.(ITU, 2014)



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Creator Spaces   Designing Innovation Economics


Ayesha Dawood

I liked this when I came across it “Thinking is a kind of making, and making is a kind of thinking" says Jessie Shefrin former Provost of The Rhode Island School of Design and past Dean of Graduate Studies of The Rhode Island School of Design.

I like this too, alot 'design thinking ... is the expression of communication – the form itself...' that is the response I got when I asked John Maeda, at a talk at MIT this year what design thinking is -- Is it the form, is it the way it is presented .. and how does it impact international affairs? His response has got me mulling on innovation economics – and a very 21st century focus. The innovation economics idea was introduced to me by Professor William Fisher of Harvard Law School, Wilmer Hale Professor of Intellectual Property. And so Professor Fisher I take the liberty to propel this idea to designing innovation economics in the 21st century. So here I am positing Creator Spaces as innovation economics in action. And yes, Prof Fisher, Intellectual Property is important and as you say, only and only if it creatively engages with culture. So I take the creative engaging with the culture of a people, the culture of counties ... to a culture of creation. So, I am building and creating and designing too. Is this Ronald Dworkin`s chain novel theory playing itself out – a step by step building of things.

In particular I focus on Creator and Maker spaces which I call Creator Spaces. It is a movement rapidly gaining traction – and pioneering new pedagogies – tinkering, creator and playful learning pedagogies. No doubt this is influencing and will continue to improve a whole new wave – tinkering, playful learning and learning through play and exploration heralding novel creations as well as iterations in the new edu- tech era.

This is innovation economics birthed. A world of tinkering, software and hardware creation including an immersive engagement with technology and with materials –that is what empowers us to be courageous and creative. To make, to create – the art of playful learning and innovator spirit is boldly borne.

In seeing what we create – both online with immersive engaging of technology to building with our minds and hands to creating with materials to embracing the realm of possibilities and yes frameworks ( the lawyer in me screams legal frameworks as much computational thinking calls for system frameworks ). That is the power of Creator Space. They energise, motivate, uplift and propel growth in ones own sense of self, in creativity, in making, in building, in designing and cognition and critical thinking. And this is why it makes sense – it is innovation economics in both the digital and physical – a new form of a connected world – a world of immersive technology made simple – a world of creative making and a world of design and designing new things – software, new hardware, new things and while the search for new hardware forms and hardware materials is increasingly opening up new possibilities in materials.... Creator Spaces are about working with what is available as well making new from afresh and in that process new forms are birthed – New software creation is Creator Space and open source learning and remixing also lend impetus to this. See what amazing creations Scratch, an open source computer programme inspiring community learning and inspiring kids to create stories, animations and games - initiated at the MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarden Group - is doing for kids globally here

Designing Creator Spaces is about inspiring people to take charge of their minds and ideas. I marvelled at watching the excitement and agility of the kids at MIT `s Scratch Day this May. Boundless enthusiasm and fun creations – and such confidence.

A new creator pedagogy in the making – yes – but maybe not so new in Africa and emerging economies where creator crafts and tinkering necessities were birthed. It is this staple that will take the shift to tinkering and artful play in emerging economies to levels unparalleled and a boon for innovation economics. Now that is design thinking innovation economics.  Creator Spaces is innovation economics. And yes, Intellectual Property matters.

Ayesha Dawood is a lawyer, writer and artist and educator. She is a Harvard and South African educated lawyer (@ConsultAyesha) She has an LL.M from Harvard Law School and is a recent Fellow of the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University.