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Your phone has internet - why are you at a library PC? Re-imagining public access for the mobile internet era

Jonathan Donner and Marion Walton

Abstract

This study focuses on teenage users of public internet access venues (PAVs) in low-income neighbourhoods of Cape Town. It documents their cultivation of detailed ICT repertoires to make the most of available ICTs. It highlights the continuing importance of PAVs as supplements for poorly equipped schools, and reveals the incompleteness of any supposed transition to mobile-only internet use. While the mobile internet is opening up opportunities for young people, its current form still conflicts with the easy (global) rhetoric of a closing digital divide and the end of the PAV. We recommend policy and design actions (effecting rules, training, messaging, functionality, and Wi-Fi) to reconfigure PAVs to be more useful "in the age of the mobile internet". Though some actions require support from policymakers, this is fruitful ground for designers and technologists. We identify steps which can be undertaken immediately, rather than waiting for future device convergence or lower tariffs.

Details

Publication typeInproceedings
Published inInteract: 14th IFIP TC13 Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
PublisherSpringer

Previous versions

Preeti Mudliar, Jonathan Donner, and William Thies. Emergent Practices Around CGNet Swara, A Voice Forum for Citizen Journalism in Rural India, ACM, March 2012.

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