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Should the Internet Be Everywhere? Perspectives on Ubiquitous Internet Access

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posted on 21.05.2021, 15:50 by Teresa Ritter, Alison Powell, Catherine A. Middleton
The AOIR 5.0 call for papers asks, “Is the internet everywhere?” This paper poses complementary questions: “Should the internet be everywhere?”, and if the internet should be ubiquitous, what should it look like? Drawing from Canadian focus group data, the paper explores experienced internet users’ opinions and attitudes about the value of the internet, demonstrating that despite its widely recognized benefits, many people embrace the internet somewhat reluctantly. The paper identifies four types of internet users who dynamically engage with the technology in different ways. Each type of user bears a set of distinguishing characteristics, which are drawn from analysis of internet users’ discussions about their activities on the internet, and their attitudes toward it. This paper considers how (or whether) ubiquitous internet access could be of benefit to each type of user, concluding that ubiquitous internet access is not yet expected to be in great demand by all types of internet users.

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