Since the creation of the World Wide Web in 1989, global access to the Internet has been a worldwide goal. This article tackles the ongoing issues with access to Internet in Honduras and measures required for its improvement.
A widespread Internet access for as many people as possible is something that has been a developmental goal for a long time now; currently, around 46% of the population worldwide has access to the Internet, but that percentage is unevenly distributed – while as many as 78% in North America and 73% in Europe has Internet access, only 57% people in Latin America, 26% in South Asia and 20% in Sub-Saharan Africa enjoy that possibility (see Chart below).
Honduras is among the least fortunate countries in this respect even when compared to its neighbours and the region. Currently, only 40% of the total population of Honduras have access to an Internet connection, including those with Mobile Data on their phones, which is the most accessible method. The accessibility of the Internet has already been an issue for quite some time now, with voices advocating that the Internet should become a common good as it can greatly enhance and improve the learning process and improve the quality of life in general. This issue has only become more apparent and drastic with the recent Global Pandemic of COVID-19, where the “digital divide” has become a major obstacle for the distance education required during this harsh times.
The Honduran Government did try to implement some strategies to continue the academic year through the Internet space, but this has proven to be a major challenge considering that 60% of the population does not have access to it; moreover, in regions like Lempira, only 25% of that population is covered by the Mobile Phone signals, making it considerably difficult for the other 75% to have a chance of accessing it, let alone use it properly without the right guidance.
After all, the country has one of the biggest divides in Internet access in the whole world, not only because of the lack of infrastructure, but also because of the very high prices of it. On average, the Latin American needs to pay 3.7% of its monthly income for one GB of internet, but in Honduras, that number increases to 8%. This proves that the efforts of the government are lacking at best; while the more resourceful students have been able to continue their duties on the Internet, the poorest ones, had no option but to stop, this can only work to increase the already huge digital divide between the two groups.
With the authorities considering the best case scenario to be the possible return to classes in 2021, and having no real way to solve the current divide, we can only hope that if this best case scenario does happen, the current Pandemic will serves a lesson to point out just how big the divide is, and how important it is, to start working on the solutions.