Digital inequalities in rural Australia: A double jeopardy of remoteness and social exclusion

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Abstract

In an era of a highly digitalized society, Australia's rural areas continue to be at a digital disadvantage. With the increasing penetration of information and communications technology (ICT) into all public and private realms, there is a need to examine the deeply rooted digital divide and how it is intertwined with issues of social exclusion in rural communities. This study focused on remoteness as an indicator of digital exclusion, and investigated its relationship with other dimensions of social exclusion. A secondary data analysis using Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) regional data revealed that remoteness was a strong predictor of home Internet and broadband connectivity, but digital divide was exacerbated by other socio-demographic factors such as educational levels and employment status. When implementing digital inclusion strategies, both supply (infrastructure) and demand (education levels, industry sector, employment opportunities, socio-demographics) factors must be considered
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-407
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Volume54
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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