Chapter 5: Digital inequality and mobiles: opportunities and challenges of relying on smartphones for digital inclusion in disadvantaged contexts
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Given the increasing focus on mobile connections to reduce digital inequality and the growing number of mobile-only users, this chapter uses Chile as a case study to explore the opportunities and challenges of relying on smartphones to foster digital inclusion in deprived contexts such as isolated rural communities. Relying on a probabilistic face-to-face survey in 22 villages, our results reveal that a minority of people uses the internet (37%), almost half (49%) were mobile-only users, 37% used both computers and mobiles and 13% went online only through computers. Even in this already deprived context, mobile-only use reaches a population of new internet users with lower education and income. Also, the combination of both computers and mobiles is what leads to more diverse types of internet uses. Thus, from a policy-making perspective, it is relevant to support both mobile and computer access rather than focusing on only one.

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