Reflecting on the first-half DTC 206: Digital Inclusion, there were a few concepts that stood out to me and seem to fit together well. In this poster comic, I attempt to demonstrate how the concepts of the Digital Divide, net neutrality, and the geopolitics of the physical internet all connect and relate to each other. At the top of the poster, there are clouds which serve to represent the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The raindrops falling from the clouds are there to represent how ISPs choose to distribute their resources. Similarly, the dollar sign paired with a few motions lines visualizes the companies’ monetary yield from their resource input.
The Digital Divide is being visualized here through the juxtaposition of two types of areas in order to show to how type of area affects its connectedness. This is meant to show that the large cities and more urban areas will receive many of the resources ISPs have to offer. Whereas rural areas are not as fortunate as urban areas and are often left with the bare minimum of internet (Burrington). This is where the Digital Divide starts to connect to the geopolitics of the issue. You see the large, modern city taking up much of the ISPs resources, while yielding a sizable profit in return. On the other hand, rural areas are receiving less attention, while also producing small amounts of profit. Large ISPs like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon understand that these rural areas are not helping them make money, so they see no point in providing coverage and wasting resources that could otherwise be profitable. Unfortunately, rural areas often fall behind urban areas because of corporate greed.
The geopolitics of the physical internet are concerning to me as we move further into the digital age without net neutrality. If ISPs are already able to choose which areas do or do not get the fastest internet, it seems probable that they could also throttle the connection speeds of their users in order to make them pay more. Similarly, the Digital Divide and net neutrality connect because the post-net neutrality internet seems to be entirely motivated by profits, contributing to a deeper divide. Each of these three concepts connect to one another and help explain each other. One of the most interesting things that I am noticing is that the Digital Divide, net neutrality, and the geopolitics of the internet are all connected by one thing: The Internet Service Providers. Each of these issues or concepts all come from the fact that ISPs have the power to decided to who has access to the internet, how fast the connection is, and maybe even what users see on the internet. It seems to me that a possible solution to these current issues lies in limiting the power of the ISPs.
American Broadband Initiative. “Milestones Report: February 2019.” pg. 11.
Burrington, Ingrid. “Where the Cloud Rises from the Sea.” The Atlantic, 12 November 2015.