To Be a Network Society: A Cross-National Perspective on the Internet in Britain
29 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2009 Last revised: 3 Dec 2015
Date Written: January 6, 2009
After years of collective indecision, Britain shifted to become a full participant in an increasingly networked world; supporting the diffusion of the Internet, broadband access, and its use for an increasingly wide range of activities.
This paper compares Britain with other European nations and the wider world in its adoption and use of the Internet. It draws from the Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS) and the World Internet Project (WIP), along with other publicly available data to compare and contrast patterns of adoption, use and impact.
Comparative research places Britain in the mainstream of other networked nations. Britons were not early adopters, nor were they laggards. Most have integrated the Internet into their everyday life and work complementing interpersonal communication and other media. In several important respects, Britons have become fuller participants in the network society than many others, such as in using the Internet more often for a wider range of activities. Similar to most developed nations, Britain faces enduring issues over digital inclusion, and in whether to keep pace with global developments in high-speed Internet access and mobile broadband Internet use, in the face of calls for greater regulation of content.
Keywords: Internet, Britain, broadband, digital divide, world internet project, adoption, use, communication, digital inclusion
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