Who uses public access ICTs? First survey working paper released

Who uses public access ICTs? With the release of the first survey working paper, Public access to ICTs: Sculpting the profile of users, the Global Impact Study offers insight into who the users of public access ICTs are. Written by George Sciadas, with input from Hil Lyons, Chris Rothschild, and Araba Sey, this working paper results from data analysis of the user surveys in Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Ghana, and the Philippines.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user mlibrarianus

This paper presents various characteristics of public access ICT users. While earlier research suggests that public access ICT users are young, male, and only play games, the Global Impact Study has found that a myriad of user profiles exist. Looking at a variety of variables, from gender to income and education to age, this working paper highlights the diversity found among public access ICT users.


Based on a survey of public access ICT users in five countries, this working paper outlines some basic characteristics of users – their demographics, history of using ICTs and reasons for using public access ICTs. This preliminary analysis indicates that while a large proportion of public access ICT users are young (40% under 20 years old), male (65%), students (44%), and have at least secondary education (82%), there is a fair amount of diversity in user characteristics. The significance of public access ICTs is demonstrated in the finding that most users’ first contact with computers (50%) and the internet (62%) was in a public access venue, and even those who have access at home patronize venues for other reasons, such as better equipment, faster connections, being with friends, or having access to help from venue staff.


Full report: Public access to ICTs: Sculpting the profile of users

Recommended Citation

Sciadas, G., with Lyons, H., Rothschild, C., & Sey, A. (2012). Public access to ICTs: Sculpting the profile of users. Seattle: Technology & Social Change Group, University of Washington Information School.


public access, users, cybercafés, internet cafes, libraries, telecenters, internet, ICT, ICTD