Pandemic widens digital divide in Chile

Gaps in access to digital services have widened during the pandemic in Chile.

This was the conclusion reached by the study Barometer of the Citizen Digital Gap, by the telecommunications regulator Subtel, the Ibero-American Observatory of Digital Communications and others. Likewise, it found that 73% of the people surveyed have difficulties in making use of telecommuting, online education, virtual government services, online health procedures and electronic commerce.

These difficulties are more pronounced in the case of women, as 77% reported having these problems, compared to 61% of men.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is already generating enormous consequences for women around the world, and Chile has not been the exception, since the existing pre-pandemic gaps have worsened and threaten to widen even more,” said the head of Subtel , Pamela Gidi, in a statement.

The study indicated that there is a linear correlation between lower income levels and higher degrees of difficulty in using and accessing digital services.

These obstacles are especially important when applying for social assistance services is done online, said the Undersecretary for Women and Gender Equity, Maria José Abud Sittler, during the presentation of the study.

There is also a relationship between lower levels of education and higher degrees of difficulty in the use of digital services.

Professor Arturo Alba, from the Adolfo Ibáñez University, pointed out that 74.4% of those surveyed considered digitization to be a “high value” topic. However, there is a gap in the day-to-day use of technology.

Among the main reasons that complicate access are the lack of resources to pay for the service or devices, poor network coverage and the difficulty of accessing the electrical system.

The report will be used as a source for the design of future public telecommunications policies.

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