Sustaining Community Access to Technology: Who Should Pay and Why.
AbstractBased on their research on several national, regional, local projects, and an analysis of the Canadian federal governments main Internet public access programs, the authors argue that as the digital divide has evolved and changed, changes in a conception of this and approaches to sustainability are required. This requires defining sustainability in terms of supporting community organizations that provide social development and related content and services to the public, with support for core services, content development as well as technical access and networking. The authors further argue that governments, and in particular the federal government, has the primary role for providing sustainability funding at the community level to address the digital divide and development goals. A conceptual approach is required that extends our understanding of the problem of the digital divide and sustainability to the everyday lived circumstances and needs of citizens and their local communities. Such an approach also permits us to consider sustainability in terms of being primarily a role for governments to provide funding to the community service organizations that provide services at the community level in order to address inequalities and under development. Funding should be used for technical services, the development and maintenance of core operations (staff, volunteers, overheads) and content services that can be accessed using communication technologies.
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