From digital divide to broadband divide

During the Easter holydays I spent a couple days in a rural area. I had planned to take my laptop along and to connect to the internet using a standard dial-up connection. I had done it last year, it was slow but feasable, if the motivation was high enough.

I tried it again this year. The websites were mostly the same, the connection speed remained constant, but the experience was quite different. Almost all sites I tried to visit took longer to load. Apparently with broadband being widely available the sites were not optimized for bandwidth any longer. The only exception was Google mail offering a streamlined version for low bandwith connection. Thanks.

That also means that any educational multimedia content or sites not optimized for low bandwidth will be practically unavailable over the web in areas without broadband access. Especially since wifi based broadband is still quite expensive if large data volumes (multimedia) have to be transmitted. The propagated use of the internet for life long learning thus is at least for some rural areas still very far away.

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