People online seem to have a culture that separates classes. Those who have unlimited access to the internet is called the digital elite and those who don’t are considered the digital underclass. But what happens if you make internet available to everyone?
The Philippines is adapting to this digital culture rapidly. Statistics from the start of 2015 showed that there is really a boom in digital transformation.
Looking at the numbers, there is a big difference from 2014 to 2015 and all the more with the this year.
It is observed that there is potential in the Philippines for a bigger digital culture. Although it is still in it’s infancy stage, it will not take long for the country to adapt. 46% of the population are active users of the internet. This is almost half of the population but the question that should be asked is what to do with the other remaining 54%?
From a businessman’s point of view, this 54% is opportunity for money to roll. 54% is a lot of people. As statistics show, it would seem that it would not be hard to drag this 54% into the light of the screen-culture. With the local and Chinese brands making affordable smart phones sold at p200 at the lowest, it isn’t far for the 54% to have the means to access the internet
refer to link below for list of smartphone price rankings:
However, the issue of enterprises of the Philippines is that they don’t want to give this kind of liberation to the people. The data industry of the Philippines is handled by Telecommunication companies namely: PLDT and Globe Telecom. Obviously, if they do give free internet, they will not be able to earn from subscriptions anymore.
Although there are some attempts to make internet “free”, they are usually limited. Facebook, together with Internet.org launched their “Free Internet” app with the help of Smart Communications under PLDT. Yes, this is somewhat revolutionary, especially considering the risk of giving something free to abusive freeloaders common in the Philippines, but it is also not enough.
refer to link below for an article about Facebook offering free internet to the Philippines:
This app is limited to specific sites only. Not only that, but what a free Facebook user would see on his or her Cherry Mobile would be totally different, and by different I mean lacking, compared to what a paying iPhone Facebook user would see. The free Facebook UI usually shows text and some images. Other media like videos and links to other websites are not options, or not FREE options, that is. One can argue that it would only be fit for a p200 smartphone to have limited access considering the specs of the phone. However, adapting to digital will never be the same if one may not be able to engage in the full experience that technology has to offer. This shows an obvious and intended separation of classes. Enterprises must be so scared to lose its money if they give the whole package for free to consumers. Free internet means no subscriptions = no customers = no money inflow.
The point of the internet is that it is supposed to be accessible to everyone and anyone. Thus, the FREE factor is very important. If there are limitations in terms of infrastructure, it can be made up for with proper applications towards the base.
It is clear that there is a conspiracy going on inside the politics of giving free internet. Because the industry is pretty much monopolised by one corporation, they call the shots. They have the access to the data, the infrastructure, the means and the money. It will be hard to compete against that.
On the other hand, imagine a world with free internet for everyone. In some ways, there will be a levelling of the field because information and knowledge will be available to everyone. This will give people from the far ends of the world a lot of benefits and opportunity. They will be informed with current events and existence outside their own little world.
Imagine what it can do in terms of education. Kids today can teach themselves how to dance through continuously watching YouTube videos. Who says it won’t be the same in learning math, arts, grammar and language and other subjects.
Imagine the liberation for the poor. They will know what the world is like and feel that they are not confined to their circumstances. There is more to the world and it is not impossible to try and be something more, as well.
Considering this, there will be a big change. Culture and society will be different. It would probably be the end of the world as we know it, nearing the image of flying cars and space homes. There will be a lot of politics and governance that needs to be handled. By then, we would go back to critical theory asking whether this is a good idea or not and what the implications are. But the world needs to continue to progress, there is no backwards motion. Eventually, we will reach this state.
The question now, given that information will be available to all, is: What to do with it?
This is a similar question asked by Data Analysts and Data Scientists. Data comes from everywhere. This is knowledge. Knowledge is power. The one with the more knowledge has more power. But the upper hand will always go to the one who can gather information and make something out of it. Data is being gathered everyday and it usually stays in the computers or drawers of some offices. There are many uses to these data. Data coming from all places, different data that mean different things when segmented and presented to different people. Data that can be manipulated in so many different ways. Society will never be the same.
But ultimately, it will all boil down to access to information, access to the internet. Classes will always be classes but there are ways to play with the number of people inside the classes and this can simply be done by giving free access.