The Internet as a Diverse Community: Cultural, Organizational, and Political Issues

By Urs E. Gattiker | Go to book overview

3—
Personal and Organizational Use of the Internet:
Economic and Access Issues

Overview

Access to the Internet for business, educational institutions, and private citizens is a challenge. One reason is that only about 4% of the people in the developing world have access to a phone. Even in developed countries, access charges (e.g., to connect to the Internet through cable and Internet charges itself) may slow down the diffusion of Internet usage by business and private citizens. For organizations, labor, hardware, and maintenance costs for an in-house or a virtual server for storing Internet material are also a matter of consideration. These and other possibly negative and positive developments are outlined and discussed (cf. Appendix C).

Interdependence, social complexity, diffusion, and structure of how people take advantage of CMC, and the Internet in particular, are important issues as chapter 1 has outlined. Moreover, market deregulation in telecommunication and cable TV service providers also influences the pricing one pays to gain Internet access via telecommunication, cable, and in some cases, even electricity lines as discussed in chapter 2. Moreover, regulatory developments across borders or lack thereof in such areas as encryption and digital signatures influence the opportunities, costs, and attained safety or security for electronic commerce. Accordingly, institutional norms about communication and procedures about doing electronic commerce are affected by both deregulation and regulation.

Economic issues linked to CMC and the Internet are also of considerable importance when it comes to future developments and institutional progress. Here, we have to distinguish between private users and organizational

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