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Broadband Internet Usage Outside the Home: Insights from a Study of Toronto Internet Cafes

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posted on 21.05.2021, 17:01 by Catherine A. Middleton
This paper addresses a simple question. In an environment where more and more people have broadband internet access at home, what is the role of internet cafés? In answering this question, a contribution is made to the limited existing knowledge of how consumers use public internet points, with a specific focus on how broadband services are used. This study is novel because work to date has focused on understanding how consumers use broadband in their homes, with the assumption being that once everyone has residential broadband connectivity, public access points like internet cafés will disappear. This paper offers a description of user behaviours observed in 28 internet cafés and 4 free public access points. The paper documents diversity in users and usage patterns, and suggests that internet cafés continue to offer valuable services to their users. Broadband connectivity is used for gaming, but few other uses that required broadband connectivity were observed.

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