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Telecentres and Cyber Cafés:A Case for ICT in Small Business

Rangaswamy and N


Telecentre initiatives run by non-profit agents are largely understood as critical access points for digital inclusion. By the same token internet or cyber cafés viewed merely as commercial sites fall outside the purview of non-profit initiatives promoting e-literacy. From a contextual study of ‘small’ internet cafés in urban and peri-urban Maharashtra, India, we report localization of information and communication technology (ICT).Here, internet technologies localize, find survival niches and in many cases, serve as initiation nodes for first time users. The paper introduces a variety of context specific and commercial immersions of ICT services as part of everyday commerce. We argue for-profit spaces like i-cafes equally contribute to digital immersion in ‘information poor’ contexts. ‘Non-developmental’ (read commercial) spaces successfully use ICTs, sustain businesses, generate regular clientele and adapt to local demand. Here, ICT technologies involve and initiate all those who access them at suitable and affordable prices. Can i-cafés do what telecentres supposedly do? In this effort and from a perspective of commercial adoption of ICTs we try to open up debates around telecentres as privileged sites of digital inclusion.


Publication typeProceedings
PublisherInternational Communication Association
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