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us apple developer accounts for sale(buyappleacc.com):Remote work goes \u0027luxury\u0027, but many may be left out

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WASHINGTON — Virtual reality meetings, US$7,000 (S$9,402) all-in-one kits and digital hot desking: Big Tech is rolling out premium tools as the work-from-home era looks set to last well beyond the pandemic.

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But experts warn that while top-of-the-line features may benefit privileged Americans, millions of others can barely access remote work tools already available.

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Facebook has unveiled online "workrooms" for users of its Oculus virtual reality gear, and Google showed off interactive conferencing displays, declaring the "hybrid" mix of in-person and remote work is here to stay.

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Yet outside of Silicon Valley and other urban centers, basics like a fast internet connection and proficiency in remote tech is beyond the reach of tens of millions in the United States.

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"For many people, being able to work from home is still a luxury," said Ms Michelle Burris, a senior policy associate at progressive think tank The Century Foundation.

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One reason is access to high-speed connections, with advocacy group BroadbandNow saying in a May report that 42 million Americans — about 13 per cent of the population — cannot get broadband internet. 

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Another problem is equipment as many workers have to buy their own.

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Take the example of Ms Patricia McGee in Texas — a 39-year-old mother of four who switched from an Amazon warehouse job to remote customer service work for another company when pandemic lockdowns hit about 18 months ago.

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She had to plunk down US$2,000 to get a computer, not to mention the price of internet and the process of installing software and updates.

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"Not everybody can afford a computer. So it's taking jobs from people that can't (buy one) or actually don't have the skills (to use one)," she told AFP.

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Her machine broke a few days ago and because she had exhausted her paid time off, Ms McGee can't work or make money until her computer is back online.

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RISK OF BEING LEFT OUT

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The digital divisions exposed by the pandemic are well-documented with striking examples like families using the wireless internet at fast food restaurants so their children could attend school online.

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As schools and workplaces have, in many areas, moved gradually back toward in-person activity, some inequalities have been eased.

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But a percentage of workers have come to appreciate the flexibility and utility of a "hybrid" mix where they can work from home sometimes.

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"It's one of these innocuous seeming things that looks like it's convenience but it can be — unless we really address and acknowledge it — another tool for increasing inequality," said Professor Monica Sanders, a Georgetown University professor.

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Prof Sanders noted that this is different than other technological developments, like the latest smartphone or even having a videocassette player when the machines revolutionized home entertainment.

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They didn't "impact your earning power or where you live or how you work," she said.

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