State can’t afford to fall into the digital divide

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2000

In an age in which information moves at the speed of light, most Mississippians still remain in the dark — technologically speaking.

A Virginia Tech study shows that Mississippi is dead last in Southern states when it comes to households with home computers. Just more than one quarter of all Mississippians have a computer in their house compared to more than 40 percent nationwide.

The problem isn’t that some folks aren’t connected; it’s that lack of technology creates a new version of the haves and the have-nots.

Email newsletter signup

Mississippi is a study in contrasts. This week Jackson-based information provider WorldCom spent $3 billion to acquire another company. The deal will help WorldCom continue to be a digital behemoth on the cutting edge of technology.

A two-hours’ drive southwest of WorldCom’s international headquarters, Natchez and Adams County still struggle for completion of a four-lane highway to the world.

Our community needs to look ahead — beyond the limits of asphalt and into the future. We need to be wired.

Our state leaders have vowed to put a computer in every classroom — and that’s great. But unfortunately it’s not enough to push Mississippi ahead.

With computers in schools, where does a computer-less parent go if their child needs to write a paper or do homework after 6 p.m.?

Public access to technology and the Internet is vital to our community’s future — both in potential economic development and the improvement of our community’s people.

We’re all sitting in the dark, who will stand up and help flip the switch on our future?