Research into the so-called 'digital divide' is an important issue for businesses trading online. In this paper, Wenhong Chen and Barry Wellman of the NetLab Centre for Urban and Community Studies at the University of Toronto compare socio-economic, gender, life stage, and rural-urban Internet access and use in eight countries.
Covering a time span from the commercialisation of the Internet in the early 1990s to 2002, the paper examines online growth and access in the US and UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, China, and Mexico.
The authors present a framework of Internet diffusion and its social impact on people and societies in the global context. Using this framework, they then describe trends and patterns of access and use of computers and the Internet in each country.
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