Measuring the Contribution of Infoplazas to Internet Penetration and Use in Panama

Norma L. Miller

Abstract


Infoplazas arose in Panama as a means to combat the digital divide by providing Internet connectivity to the economically disadvantaged and geographically remote. Yet there is a dearth of information regarding their actual performance. This study constitutes a first attempt to assess the contribution of infoplazas to the diffusion and use of the Internet in Panama. In so doing, this study sets the ground for the development of a more rigorous measurement tool that might obtain better estimates of the dynamics of infoplazas and similar community information centers. Our research suggests that infoplazas account for approximately 7% of Panama's Internet users, that infoplazas might constitute the only connectivity option for at least 25% of users, and that the annual number of serviced visits might be considerably higher than the official figure. This study also draws attention to a number of challenges faced by the Infoplaza Project.

Keywords


Panama, Digital Divide, Information, Internet, Community Information Centers; Infoplaza Project

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