Dynamics of Digital Diffusion and Disadoption
A longitudinal analysis of Indigenous and other Australians
The digital divide between Indigenous and other Australians describes the unequal access to information and communications technology (ICT) between these groups. Historically, researchers have focused on acquiring new technology, but we argue that it is important to understand all the dynamics of digital usage, including the loss of access to ICT within a household. For long-lived technology such as internet access, it is particularly important to consider that retention of access to the technology. This paper conducts a longitudinal analysis of changes in internet usage for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian households using the Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset, 2006–2016. While earlier work analyses the digital divide in terms of ‘diffusion’ or adoption of ICT, this paper shows that the failure to retain internet access is also important in driving the digital divide. The dynamics of the digital divide have important and ongoing implications for addressing broader socioeconomic disadvantages experienced by Indigenous Australians. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency of policy addressing the digital divide, given the renewed momentum for remote learning and telecommuting.
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