Digital Divide a Concern, BT Study Finds

Findings revealed that 97 percent of respondents believe developments in communications are good for business in their country, and 92 percent believe they are good for society. But for the first time since the study's inception four years ago, there are concerns expressed that the benefits of communications developments should be available to all citizens, according to BT.

"A small number of opinion formers specifically express concern about a developing inequality of services and technology," the study stated. "A further 3 percent express concern that there is a widening inequality of service and technology available to different users."

The digital divide, as it is now commonly termed, is a significant issue across the globe, not just in Asia-Pacific, where the various industries including consumers, government, and enterprises have to address, said Kristen Hannah, head of external affairs for Asia-Pacific, BT.

"It's something we have to take very seriously here, and anywhere else," Hannah noted.

Businesses should work together with the various government bodies and consumers to understand what is driving the gap, and address the issue, she suggested.

"Governments need to have a good understanding on how the industry works, and (organisations such as British Telecommunications) can help provide that," she said. "I think the industry, in general, can help contribute to the debate."

The study also revealed that there are concerns about the effectiveness of liberalisation, where the main barrier to competition in the communications industry is still believed to be the monopoly of the public telephone and telegraph company (PTT).

However, liberalisation and adapting to the free market is an issue that is declining in relevance to opinion formers, the study found.

Findings also revealed that in Asia-Pacific, "providing a vision of communications" was ranked higher than elsewhere as one of the top three key attributes in evaluating a communications supplier, a find that is hardly surprising, according to an analyst.

"In the communications area, we all know that the ability to scale is very important to users," said Sandra Ng, vice president of communications research, International Data Corp. (IDC) Asia- Pacific.

Users feel more comfortable with vendors and service providers that are able to show roadmaps of their offerings because they then know their suppliers will be there for them when needed, Ng said, noting that this is not the only selection criteria.

There is also widespread agreement that service is key in evaluating communications suppliers, according to the BT study, where secure and reliable service is the most important attribute for opinion formers in assessing communications companies, and understanding customers' needs is second.

Providing value for money is mentioned next, and is most important to legislators, and opinion formers in Europe.

"I don't think you can separate them because providing value for money is part of providing services," Hannah said. "What comes across strongly are that attributes such as security, reliability, and understanding the customers' needs, are more significant than value for money."

"I think the issue there is that price is not the only issue," she said. "It's a basket of benefits that people are looking for now in communications service providers."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eileen Yu

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?