The impact of public access to ICTs: Findings from a five-year, eight-country study


This article summarizes the findings of a five-year study investigating the impacts of public access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). The research was conducted in eight low and medium income countries employing a range of survey, ethnographic, and experimental research approaches. The analysis revealed substantial first-order effects in terms of technology access, information access and ICT skills development. Second-order effects in domains such as health, education, employment and income varied considerably, though when public access users had a need in any of these areas they were generally successful in achieving their goals. The study also found significant impacts among non-users, a group that includes former users, a largely unexplored dimension of public access. These findings challenge a commonly held notion that public access is solely a stepping stone to private access.

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Publication Type

  • Conference Paper

Publication Date

  • 2013

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