Free internet as agent of community transformation
AbstractDoes the internet empower communities or perpetuate the status quo? Can universal internet access resolve education, employment, and other social gaps? We report on our longitudinal assessment of low income community access to free internet in New Zealand, in terms of new internet users (1) community belonging, (2) internet connectedness, and (3) civic engagement. Findings show internet connectedness may have only a minimal impact on community capacity due to constraints such as family transience, difficult domestic circumstances, inadequate project resourcing, and poor literacy. Internet ubiquity may not be a strategically useful social objective unless contextual limitations are recognised and addressed.
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