Differential IT Access and Use Patterns in Rural and Small-Town Atlantic Canada

Differential IT Access and Use Patterns in Rural and Small-Town Atlantic Canada

David Bruce (Mount Allison University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-69-8.ch006
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Abstract

Popular press and government rhetoric suggest that there has been steady progress in the extent to which individuals, households, businesses, organizations, and communities are using the Internet as part of their daily lives (Bruce, 1998, 1997). However, there is little empirical evidence to support this claim. In this chapter I argue that there has been slow and uneven penetration of Internet use in rural and small-town communities in Atlantic Canada, despite the best efforts of policies and programs. Drawing on evidence from a recent Internet use survey, suggestions are made for improving the performance of policies and programs aimed at increasing Internet access and use. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an empirical overview of differential Internet access and use patterns, using data collected  from a  January 1998 survey (Jordan, 1998; Bruce and Gadsden, 1999) of 1501 households in 20 different Atlantic Canadian communities grouped into five distinct “community categories.” (Reimer, 1997a, 1997b) Characteristics of users for purposes of this analysis include age, gender, household income, educational attainment, and employment status. This chapter also explores the extent to which Atlantic Canadians have taken formal or informal courses or training programs related to information technology between 1993 and 1998.

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