There When You Need It: The Multiple Dimensions of Public Access ICT Uses and Impacts

Araba Sey, François Bar, Chris Coward, Lucas Koepke, Chris Rothschild, George Sciadas


This article summarizes the findings of a study investigating the impacts of public access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). The research was conducted in seven low- and medium-income countries employing a range of survey, ethnographic, and experimental research approaches. The analysis revealed substantial first-order effects in terms of technology access, information access, and ICT skills development. Second-order effects in domains such as health, education, employment, and income varied considerably, although when public access users had a need in any of these areas, they were generally successful in achieving their goals. The study also found benefits among non-users, a group that includes former users, a largely unexplored dimension of public access.

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