Conference proceedings article

Access Barriers: Hurdles for the Private Use of the Internet

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Author list: Nilsson, Olof

Publication year: 2004


Abstract

This paper present a critical analysis of three qualitative studies made in the cities of Härnösand and Gothenburg, Sweden, in the period October 2001 to May 2003. The aim of the analysis was to identify Internet access barriers among private persons, i.e. factors that constrain the personal use of the Internet at home. The interest for these barriers rises from the body of research, called Social Informatics (Kling et al, 2000), which examines how people use the Internet and related network information services. Today is Sweden the world’s leading country regarding the number of computers and Internet connections in the homes, but according to a recently published report from World Internet Institute (www.wii.se) are the high level of possession not mirrored in the use. This condition gives rise to the question: why do not the citizens in Sweden use the technology more extensively in spite of the fact that they have it in their homes? The study shows that there exist a number of access barriers that arise principally from technological and social/cultural conditions. The former ones are not a complex issue to handle; it is just a question of economy and interest, while the latter, formed by the latest centuries social and cultural norms, will be the real challenge.


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