Online but still falling behind: measuring barriers to internet use ‘after access’

Kevin Hernandez and Becky Faith (2023), Internet Policy Review

UK, US, and EU internet access statistics show over 95%, 93% and 90% of individuals online respectively. Yet during the Covid-19 pandemic, many children missed out on essential schooling, and people struggled to access government assistance as services shifted online. At first the co-existence of near universal connectivity and people’s inability to access digital services may seem like a paradox. This paper analyses six digital access surveys in the UK, US, and EU to reveal how they are failing to consider ways that users may experience barriers to further use of digital technologies ‘after access’, making surveys ineffective in capturing and helping respond to their needs.

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