After reading this week’s readings, I was surprised that the idea that stuck with me the most was on the first page.  I had always thought of the digital divide as those who have access and those who do not.  Miller raises the point that the lack of universally affordable broadband service is an aspect of the digital divide.  Contemplating this for a moment, that statement makes perfect sense. Access to the Internet can be achieved with a dial-up connection, but is dial-up capable of providing the total Internet experience?  No.

Perhaps changing the terms would clarify my point.  If I work in a public library and we have the almanac from 2007 do we consider that to be sufficient? No, that information is old, potentially obsolete, and as such is not the highest quality we could provide.  Allowing ourselves to be content with offering dial-up access is much the same problem.  We are potentially omitting all kinds of information from our patrons.  They may not be able to access government reports (those 100+ page monsters that would take an eternity to load through dial-up) or health information presented on a website that uses Java applets, flash, etc.  We could be unintentionally restricting access to thousands of websites.

I’m fairly certain that this problem of providing only dial-up access is only faced by rural libraries or small libraries that have a minuscule technology budget, but it still provides an interesting conundrum.