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

See all articles by Ellen Johanna Helsper

Ellen Johanna Helsper

Independent

William H. Dutton

University of Southern California

Monica M. Gerber

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Methodology

Date Written: January 6, 2009

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Helsper, Ellen Johanna and Dutton, William H. and Gerber, Monica M., To Be a Network Society: A Cross-National Perspective on the Internet in Britain (January 6, 2009). OII Research Report No. 17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1323813 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1323813

Ellen Johanna Helsper (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

William H. Dutton

University of Southern California ( email )

3502 Watt Way #304
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Monica M. Gerber

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Methodology ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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