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Global Study Stresses Importance of Public Internet Access

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the these-tubes-are-your-tubes dept.

Education 24

vinces99 writes "Millions of people in low-income countries still depend on public computer and Internet access venues despite the global proliferation of mobile phones and home computers. However, interest in providing such public access has waned in recent years, especially among development agencies, as new technologies become available. But a five-year, eight-country study recently concluded by researchers at the University of Washington Information School has found that community access to computer and Internet technology remains a crucial resource for connecting people to the information and skills they need in an increasingly digital world. The Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication Technologies surveyed 5,000 computer users at libraries, telecenters and cybercafés and 2,000 nonusers at home to learn about patterns of public access use. The researchers also surveyed 1,250 operators of public access venues and conducted seven in-depth case studies to examine issues that have generated controversy. The study was conducted in eight low- and middle-income countries on three continents: Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Lithuania, Philippines and South Africa."

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GISPAICT (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44245489)

GISPAICT: Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication Technologies

Why do they need access? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44246019)

So they can go post things that have no content and are paradoxical like this post?

Florida (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44245581)

Florida Flori da, Florida Florida Flo rida. Florida Florida Flo rida Florida. Flo rida, Florida Florida. Florida.

Re:Florida (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44248403)

Pah Key Stahn

Public access has waned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44245797)

You would think the NSA would be interested in making it available.

Re:Public access has waned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44245931)

Going the way of the payphone...

Re:Public access has waned? (5, Funny)

Elgonn (921934) | about a year ago | (#44245933)

So what they're building in Utah isn't actually a datacenter. It is the worlds largest internet cafe!

what kind of solution is that?! (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44246049)

Come on, jerks, the efficient solution has been known since 1980 [youtube.com] .

It should read... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44246057)

All we hear is crap from middle income families and their spoilt brats. The NSA would like the poor countries who are enemies, or even friends these days, to put all their citizens online with mobile phones too, as it is resource intensive to track them by other means.

This is all citizens.

good job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44246105)

ignoring China and India.. the biggest low- and middle-income countries with fastest mobile phone and internet connections growth.

America the Poor (2)

b4upoo (166390) | about a year ago | (#44246143)

Since the only computer connection for millions of Americans is the one at school, the one at work or the one at the library that puts the US in third world status as well. Not to mention that we have millions of people with zero net access at all. Net access of reasonable quality is expensive in the US as well. We have not touched the edge of getting America up and running yet.

Re:America the Poor (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44248831)

Since the only computer connection for millions of Americans is the one at school, the one at work or the one at the library that puts the US in third world status as well.

You could say the same about any other country too. And it's not that hard to afford an internet connection.

We have not touched the edge of getting America up and running yet.

Interesting how adding a few economically marginal people to the internet is supposed to be such a big deal. I'd rather get rid of the nonsense that keeps US businesses from employing US workers.

Re:America the Poor (2)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44250359)

"You could say the same about any other country too."

That's rather the point of the study, I thought.

"And it's not that hard to afford an internet connection."

Ahh. Unsupported assertion, methinks, without meaning offense. Relative, and all, to be sure, but in fact from my own observation, yes, for some, it _is_ that hard to afford an Internet connection - along with their own computer, knowledge, skill, wherewithal, electric capacity, etc., and to safely maintain said system to use the connection at all. There are several people in the house whose computers I help fix and maintain for somewhere between free and barter (a sandwich or so; for the guy with a car, a trip to the store, and I let him access my wireless for his school work.) That leaves, in the same house, at least five people I know who would be incapable, could they afford it, to manage a computer of their own no matter how much help I gave them. (As a reference point, I've successfully worked with, trained, coached developmentally disabled people at Goodwill Industries. Success defined as the work was well done and no one lost fingers.) Yes, it's anecdotal, so only has any worth if my perceptions and conclusions are correct and I'm telling truth.

"Interesting how adding a few economically marginal people to the internet is supposed to be such a big deal."

To each individual who can get that access that I've seen, yes, it is a big deal. Some can get info they need to find a clinic, to see a doctor, to access the EPIC system, to get help with taxes, to file unemployment, to seek and apply for jobs, to look things up for whatever reason, to get an email account that helps them do some of the above and gain an avenue for communication with friends and relatives. This and more, just from what I've seen with my own eyes or have been told directly by such people. That access certainly helped me when I was homeless and had no computer and no personal access.

(As an aside, and please forgive me if my memory is totally borked, but I seem to recall you once posted a remarkable story of how you went essentially "from rags to riches" - it was inspiring, I thought, and I applaud and am happy for you. However, I think that to sneer at those less fortunate, or who could not replicate your success, is a bit... unseemly. Just because some may be lazy or drug-addled is to me no reasonable reason to tar all with such a wide brush, nor deny them access.)

For, say, a local library to set up a couple dozen surplus computers for public access at marginal cost to allow such access is a reasonable thing to do. Multiply that planet-wide. That's the whole point. Do we deliberately forbid access to those less fortunate or do we at relatively marginal cost and effort allow entry to what the Internet may offer them?

Re:America the Poor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44251071)

I personally applaud the libraries for providing such access. In the 90s the public library was the only internet source I had; I wouldn't want to deny others the privilege I had.

Re:America the Poor (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44254501)

but I seem to recall you once posted a remarkable story of how you went essentially "from rags to riches" - it was inspiring, I thought, and I applaud and am happy for you. However, I think that to sneer at those less fortunate, or who could not replicate your success, is a bit... unseemly. Just because some may be lazy or drug-addled is to me no reasonable reason to tar all with such a wide brush, nor deny them access.)

In other words, "do it for the poor" is the Slashdot version of "do it for the children". I'll just say that I don't see the benefit in providing universal services, especially one of dubious value like internet access. For example, I use the internet primarily as a source of entertainment. I don't think anyone should pay for my service as a result.

Second, I'm not rich nor have I ever been (though I have earned considerable income at times). I still need to work on occasion. Instead, I'm a hardcore saver. For example, I currently earn somewhat less than $20k per year in pre-tax wages (working about three quarters of the year). But I save a bit over half of that at present (though my savings rate was worse in previous years when I was paid less). I have no debt nor other such obligations.

Knowing how to live on a budget, save money, and obtain cheap living expenses really helps. This is also why I don't see the need for universal internet service or the like. Sure, there might be a few people whose situation is so dire that they can't afford internet. But in those cases, what should be addressed is the dire situation not the lack of internet.

For the rest of the people who don't currently get by, they need to learn financial discipline and the like rather than get internet access.

Here's all you have to know (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44246149)

I went directly to the web site of the folks that conducted the study. This was at the very top:


Our Mission

The Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington Information School explores the design, use, and effects of information and communication technologies in communities facing social and economic challenges. With experience in 50 countries, TASCHA brings together a multidisciplinary network of social scientists, engineers, and development practitioners to conduct research, advance knowledge, create public resources, and improve policy and program design.

Our purpose? To spark innovation and opportunities for those who need it most.

Our People

TASCHA brings together a multidisciplinary network of social scientists, engineers, development practitioners, and others to conduct research, advance knowledge, create public resources, and improve policy and program design

In other words, this five year taxpayer funded study by researchers professionally committed to bringing the benefits of Internet-centric innovation to every corner of the globe, finally reached the conclusion that.... people in every corner of the globe desperately the need the benefits of Internet-centric innovation.

Next!

Re:Here's all you have to know (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | about a year ago | (#44247195)

What, you mean that the people of Ghana don't actually need high-speed internet access and would be better off spending their time not getting murdered by roving gang of thugs and warlords, and trying to find something to eat? How will they ever keep up with Game of Thrones? Didn't think of that, huh?

Isn't this worse than... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44246153)

... the proposed Xbox 'always online' requirement?

Access to eduction is still vitally needed (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#44246417)

Some people have suffered unequal opportunities. Some can't read, some can't use a computer and some have over troubles with skills we call basic skills and take for granted. Some dude couldn't figure out that Asian, Europe, Africa, and South America are four continents not three.

Re:Access to eduction is still vitally needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44246551)

Some dude couldn't figure out that Asian, Europe, Africa, and South America are four continents not three.

And he was right. "Asian" is not a continent.

If you're not online... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44246447)

Then we can't track you...
Everyone needs to be online...

Breaking News!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44246873)

Global study stresses the importance of access to oxygen!!!

Loon (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#44246959)

This is why Google is working on project Loon. IMO, if it succeeds it will be the coolest and most impactful thing Google has ever done... and I include the search engine.

We All NEED to be connected... (0)

satcomjimmy (1228562) | about a year ago | (#44247395)

..so the NSA can log more of our traffic....and low income people need to be watched too. And we all need google glass too so the NSA can watch what we watch so....terrorists......or something....I don't know, just copy nsa@assclowns.gov on anything you send, it helps prevent you from being a drone strike victim, err, I mean a terrorist...Merica!
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