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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Closing the City-bush Digital Divide: Australian Experiences

Qiuyan Fan.

Australian is well placed to embrace the information economy, with 52% of Australian households online and 48% of adults (over age 16) shopping online, ranked in the top ten countries in the world for e-commerce. However, the take up of the Internet is not even in the country. Most reports on disparities in ICT access within the country look at the problem along racial, ethical and educational lines. This paper concentrates on the rural-urban digital divide, which has been studied less. It provides an empirical analysis of the digital divide in regional and rural Australia and identifies the major obstacles to narrowing the city-bush digital divide. The primary focus of this paper is with identifying empirical strategies for overcoming the digital divide rather than with analysis of quantitative data. The preliminary results suggest that high-speed access to the Internet at an affordable price is a major concern for those who live in rural and remote Australia. Certainly, government intervention has been playing a leading role in fostering rural community access to the Internet over the past decade. Apart from access to Internet infrastructure, more efforts are required to increase awareness of the benefits of Internet usage and skills/ confidence of effective use of ICT in rural Australia. The demand aggregation strategies used in Australia suggest that the better solutions to bridging the digital divide need to emerge from local communities themselves with supporting help from State and Federal governments


Qiuyan Fan  (Australia)
School of Management
University of Western Sydney

  • Digital divide, Internet access, telecommunications, government, policy and regional and rural Australia
Person as Subject
  • Fan Qiuyan

(30 min Conference Paper, English)