Title: Internet kiosks for rural communities: using ICT platforms for reducing digital divide

Authors: B. Bowonder, Gopi Boddu

Addresses: Tata Management Training Centre, No.1, Mangaldas Road, Pune 411 001, India. ' Administrative Staff College of India, Bella Vista, Hyderabad 500 082, India

Abstract: The rural population has limited access to communication. The cost of communication has been high as the incremental cost of extending communication has been high. Using a new wireless option, an ICT platform was conceptualised and implemented. This platform was extended to cover a large number of villages. This is an example of a successful public–private partnership. Systematic skill development has been the critical success factor that facilitated easy adoption and rapid diffusion of the ICT platform. Entrepreneurs helped create the infrastructure and build trust among the rural community that sustained the operation of the platform. The ICT platform has been used for a variety of innovative applications. Public–private partnerships can be a major form of institutional arrangement that could be used for reducing the digital divide, where large-scale investments are essential.

Keywords: internet kiosks; public-private partnerships; low cost technology; digital divide; cordect technology; wireless technology; local loop; India; ICT adoption; ICT diffusion; information technology; communications; developing countries; rural population; entrepreneurship; ICT infrastructure; trust; new technologies.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2005.007415

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2005 Vol.6 No.3/4/5, pp.356 - 378

Available online: 18 Jul 2005 *

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