Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shared Internet Access Important Even for Developing Nation Users with Access at Home

It appears that access speed might be a major reason large number of developing market public access users use shared computing services, even when they also have computers and Internet connections at home, a study suggests.

In Brazil, home Internet penetration at home among shared venue users was 40 percent, compared with the 24 percent national average. In other words, a significant percentage of people with at-home connections still use shared Internet access centers.

In Chile, 33 percent of public access users had Internet connections at home, as did about 25 percent of users in Ghana and the Philippines.

Users said “better equipment,” “faster connections,” and availability of “help” were key reasons for using a shared center.

To be sure, at-home Internet access varies. Of eight countries in the Global Impact Study of Public Access to Information & Communication Technologies study , home access ranges from a low of three percent to a high of 62 percent.

In Bangladesh, Botswana, and Ghana, about three percent to six percent of people say they have Internet access at home. In Lithuania, Chile, and Brazil, 38 percent to 62 percent have at-home Internet access).

In the middle are people in the Philippines and South Africa, where 10 percent to 15 percent of people say they have at-home Internet access.

Some 70 percent to 80 percent of the world’s poor now live in middle income countries such as theses (with the exception of Bangladesh, which is not classed as a middle income country).

Though fixed network at-home Internet access is an important indicator of the level of Internet access, it is not the only indicator. Mobile access already is becoming the primary way most people use the Internet, even when it is not the “only” way people do so.

That points up the importance of shared forms of access, ranging from libraries and  telecenters to cybercaf├ęs, the study authors maintain. In many cases, the shared access is provided by entrepreneurs, in other cases by government-related organizations.

One way of quantifying the perceived value of such access is to measure the amount of money people spend to get to a shared Internet access location. In purchasing power parity terms, this amount ranges from annual expenditures of $15 in Ghana to $83 in Brazil.

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