Community wireless networking has become a growing trend in both metropolitan and rural areas around the world. However, few studies have sought to understand what motivates people to use community wireless networks and the unintended effects that those technologies have on communities, particularly for rural users. The purpose of this paper is to explore the benefits and usage of an asynchronous wireless internet system in a rural village of Cambodia to examine the issues and challenges in the acceptance of a new technology in a less-developed country.
By employing qualitative methods of in-depth case analysis, the authors revealed various usage motivations and unintended effects of the system.
The authors identified five reasons that motivated users to use the system: avowed identity, a means to an end, maintaining personal ties, power and influence, and psychological commitment and ownership. The unintended effects of the system included increased number of interactions among actors and other uses of the system, including internet commerce, telemedicine, and e-government.
This study explores the wireless internet project known as the “Internet Village Motoman Project” that was initiated by a non-governmental organization with funding from private donors, supplemented with matching funds from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
This study contributes to the academic understanding of rural regions of Cambodia and its evidence supports the current theoretical assumptions that user behaviors are not determined only by users’ decisions alone (as proposed by traditional cognitive IS research), but also by users and their social interactions as stated in the four-dimensional social actor framework proposed by Lamb and Kling (2003). The latter provides better explanation of the motivation for internet use in the region. The theoretical contribution of this study is the useful adoption of the actor-network approach in a non-organizational setting. The findings also contribute to the literature on how practical internet engineering can bridge the digital divide. Fulfilling the needs identified in the research and understanding unintended effects of the system will contribute to the successful implementation of new internet projects in other rural areas.
Luo, M.M. and Chea, S. (2018), "Internet Village Motoman Project in rural Cambodia: bridging the digital divide", Information Technology & People, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 2-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-07-2016-0157
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