Almost anyone with a $40 mobile phone and a nearby cell tower can get online with an ease unimaginable just twenty years ago. An optimistic narrative has proclaimed the mobile phone as the device that will finally close the digital divide. Yet access and effective use are not the same thing, and the digital world does not run on mobile handsets alone. In After Access, Jonathan Donner examines the implications of the shift to a more mobile, more available Internet for the global South, particularly as it relates to efforts to promote socioeconomic development and broad-based inclusion in the global information society.
Drawing on his own research in South Africa and India, as well as the burgeoning literature from the ICT4D (Internet and Communication Technologies for Development) and mobile communication communities, Donner introduces the “After Access Lens,” a conceptual framework for understanding effective use of the Internet by those whose “digital repertoires” contain exclusively mobile devices. Donner argues that both the potentialities and constraints of the shift to a more mobile Internet are important considerations for scholars and practitioners interested in Internet use in the global South.
About the Author
Jonathan Donner is Senior Director of Research at Caribou Digital, a consultancy focused on building inclusive digital economies in the developing world. A recognized expert in Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), he is the coauthor (with Richard Ling) of Mobile Communication.