The mobile phone becomes a necessity for ALL the but internet is becoming an increasing challenge.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation survey, published 1st July 2008, suggests that a single person needs to earn £13,400 before tax to afford a basic but acceptable standard of living. The report also states that mobile phone ownership for low income individuals has grown rapidly, indicating that the mobile phone is becoming a necessity, much like the land line telephone. The report budgeted for mobile phones on a pay-as-you-go basis (rather than on a contract basis). It identified that mobile phones are now required for special use – for example, for emergencies in the case of pensioners or in the case of parents, if they needed to be contacted during the day by their children’s schools etc. In 1998 mobile phone ownership for low income individuals was rare compared to today, however the possibility of lower cost ownership is a contributory factor to the rising numbers.
The report also suggests that internet access is only a necessity for children’s educational purposes. The government’s aim, to provide internet access for all, creates somewhat of a dilemma. My concern is that the government target for internet access is becoming an increasingly difficult goal, especially when the number of people living below the poverty line is increasing, and when this number has risen by a further 100,000 children in 2006-2007 to 2.9 million.
Even though the government has long acknowledged the role that technology can play in education and it is imperative that ‘education is for all’ in our modern society, the challenge is of reducing the number of disadvantaged children and adults requires creative solutions from government and the mobile industry. This is where mobile technology can assist, as wireless-enabled PDA’s and smartphones could bridge the gap, bringing low cost Internet access, web browsing, and e-learning applications to ALL. Internet connectivity could be delivered by either public wireless LAN (Government Wireless Cities Programme) or by a subsidised wireless broadband from a cellular network provider.
Mobile industry call to action;
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation report has identified that we, as the mobile industry, need to develop creative mobile internet packages that ensure the government strategy is met and certainly as far as our country’s children are concerned, NONE are disadvantaged.