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The Australian National University

Bridging the digital divide: The role of community online access centres in Indigenous communities

Discussion Paper 273 / 2005


This paper presents data from the 2001 Census of Population and Housing to highlight the low levels of computer and internet usage by Indigenous Australians. This result is not surprising given the well-documented connection between education, income, and use of these technologies. In addition to these demand-side factors, access will also be influenced by the availability of services and evidence shows that internet access is not as easy in remote areas as it is in urban centres. One possible way of addressing the digital divide between capital city dwellers and other Australians is through the development of community online access centres. Using evidence from the literature and from fieldwork in New South Wales, the paper considers some factors that are likely to make these centres more successful. These include a strong commitment by the community to the development of a centre and a close integration of the centre with community activities. It is also important that significant funds be budgeted to training for all involved including centre staff and community members.

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2005_DP273.pdf1.3 MB

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