A topic that continues to intrigue me in this dawn of the Internet of Things/Everything is how much even basic Internet access can still be easily taken for granted. I suspect this is because I grew up in a rural area where cable TV and even city water access were huge deals when they finally arrived. Though memory isn’t the most reliable mistress, I think I was actually nearing high school by the time the county water plant connected to our home, finally making my family bona fide utility-paying citizens. As a child, I picked up on an unspoken message that we were different to not have great TV connections or city water running to our homes. We were… country and thus effectively banned from resources considered completely mundane givens by our city-living peers.
These memories of this sense of difference from the collective herd and of missing out on the common entertainment/media of the day came roaring back to me for some reason while I absorbed the news of Google’s rumored then official investment in the SpaceX program—news implying Internet coverage could finally, in a quantum leap, expand out across the huge portions of earth and even out to other planets. For the first time, is there a dramatic light at the end of the digital divide tunnel? Can we really get everyone, everywhere Internet access so they too can participate in the digital world and culture that has evolved these last couple decades? Will the technology that creates epic, worldwide Internet access reduce or completely remove the affordability problem plaguing the digital divide discussion as well?
Being part of ad agency life, it’s been a pleasure to witness the way we can engage with customers online and across platforms and how we can solve our clients’ business problems in new, game-changing ways outside the conventional modes of advertising. But that said, the ghost of the digital divide has always been looming, along with the knowledge that chunks of the population, either due to geography or socioeconomic reasons, are not getting to play the game with everyone else. I can relate to that sense of feeling left behind, and sure, I will call up the therapist to fully explore my emotional response to a Google press release. But I am hopeful about what a planet finally overflowing with Internet coverage could solve, heal, create, build, revolutionize and grow.