Exploring the digital divide in an Australian regional city: a case study of Albury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The 'digital divide' is generally considered to be the gap between people who have access to information and communication technologies (ICT) and those who do not, and an issue of significant social justice. This paper presents findings from research that explored the digital divide within the regional city of Albury. The study focused on assessing whether there was a digital divide; identifying strategies to address any divide; and developing a methodology that could be used to explore the digital divide in other contexts. Data were gathered using semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and a telephone survey of city residents. Findings demonstrated that a digital divide existed in that there were differences in computer access in relation to income and different locations within the city, and for access to the Internet by age, education and income levels. Overall, the patterns indicated that those with lower education and income and the elderly reported lower levels of access to ICT. Drawing on the research findings we suggest some practical ways of addressing the digital divide that could be applied to other similar locations where a digital divide exists, such as providing technical support and training, improved access to and awareness of ICT services, and facilitating access to ICT services such as the provision of appropriate hardware and software for disadvantaged groups. Our view is that the mixed-method approach we employed provided helpful, reliable information at reasonable cost and could be considered by other researchers and local governments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-493
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Geographer
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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information and communication technology
digital divide
income
communication technology
information technology
education
social justice
hardware
local government
software
methodology
city
telephone
cost
Group
access to information
resident
Internet
costs
interview

Cite this

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abstract = "The 'digital divide' is generally considered to be the gap between people who have access to information and communication technologies (ICT) and those who do not, and an issue of significant social justice. This paper presents findings from research that explored the digital divide within the regional city of Albury. The study focused on assessing whether there was a digital divide; identifying strategies to address any divide; and developing a methodology that could be used to explore the digital divide in other contexts. Data were gathered using semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and a telephone survey of city residents. Findings demonstrated that a digital divide existed in that there were differences in computer access in relation to income and different locations within the city, and for access to the Internet by age, education and income levels. Overall, the patterns indicated that those with lower education and income and the elderly reported lower levels of access to ICT. Drawing on the research findings we suggest some practical ways of addressing the digital divide that could be applied to other similar locations where a digital divide exists, such as providing technical support and training, improved access to and awareness of ICT services, and facilitating access to ICT services such as the provision of appropriate hardware and software for disadvantaged groups. Our view is that the mixed-method approach we employed provided helpful, reliable information at reasonable cost and could be considered by other researchers and local governments.",
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Exploring the digital divide in an Australian regional city : a case study of Albury. / Atkinson, John; Black, Rosemary; Curtis, Allan.

In: Australian Geographer, Vol. 39, No. 4, 2008, p. 479-493.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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