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A preliminary evaluation of online access centres: promoting micro e-business activity in small, isolated communities

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Young, JF and Ridley, G and Ridley, J (2001) A preliminary evaluation of online access centres: promoting micro e-business activity in small, isolated communities. Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 4 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 1681-4835

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Abstract

This paper reports on a study of 18 of the 20 first round of community online access centres introduced in Tasmania, the only island state of Australia. The access centres were designed to redress some disadvantages of living and working in rural regions of Tasmania, such as isolation and economic inequity. The investigation aimed to determine and evaluate trends in micro e-business activity associated with use of the centres. Statistical data collected over a two-year period in eighteen community online access centres were utilised. Comparisions were made of five communities with populations of 2 000-15 000, and thirteen with populations below 2 000. Differences were found in micro e-business activity generated in the two population categories. In centres in the larger communities, micro e-business activity was more uniform over the period. However, this was in marked contrast to the surge in micro e-business activity noted in the smaller population centres over the investigation period. It is proposed that differences in micro e-business activity may be explained by more limited opportunities outside the online access centres in the smaller communities. The findings of this foundation study suggest that online access centres do promote e-business activity in small, isolated communities, and they may offer potential to address limited business opportunities in geographically remote areas.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: telecentres, online access centre, isolated communities, Tasmania, regional communities, rural regions, micro business activity, e-business, small communities, digital divide, Australia
Journal or Publication Title: Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries
Page Range: pp. 1-16
ISSN: 1681-4835
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:12
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/534
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