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Getting Digital Refuseniks Online

Posted: 20th Jun, 2005 By: MarkJ
It's easy to forget that roughly half of the country’s population either lack the money, knowledge or drive to get Internet access. William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute, has once again raised the Digital Divide issue, but can it be solved?:

For William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute, choosing not to go online is very different to deciding what TV programme to watch. "The net has the power to be transformative both in terms of enhancing and expanding social relationships and in providing information that you won't see elsewhere," he said.

The belief that the digital divide will somehow automatically heal itself as technology becomes more prevalent and access cheaper and more widely available is a dangerous one, he thinks. Several surveys suggest that cost is less of a barrier than it used to be and, as early adopters take advantage of wi-fi and broadband, the divide is actually getting wider.

Mr Dutton also sees new divides appearing among those who are regular net users, between those who are merely passive consumers of the technology and those who use it to create their own content, such as blogs and podcasts.




From speaking with ISP's ourselves, many do feel that some will never adopt the Internet and remain stubborn 'refuseniks' no matter what is tried.

Others still hold out hope, while some take the view that flushing cash into an area that will yield such small additional custom is a wasted investment.

Perhaps one of the biggest problems is that software developers, the people whom create the operating systems that provide a crucial bridge onto computers and the Internet, keep making them increasingly complex. More @ BBC News Online.
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