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0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
0429 Conferenc Presentation
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0429 Conferenc Presentation

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  • Transcript

    • 1. A communications policy perspective on CTC sustainability in regional Australia: commercial viability and social good Will Tibben University of Wollongong CTN Conference 30 April 2008
    • 2. Introduction <ul><li>The presentation covers the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why a communication policy analysis? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Sustainability framework derived from a communications policy analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The framework applied to CTC case studies. </li></ul></ul>
    • 3. What is a CTC <ul><li>A Community Technology Centre (CTC) provides public access to computers, Internet, printers, scanners and other forms of ICTs (information and communication technologies). </li></ul>
    • 4. They are also known as… <ul><li>Telecentres, </li></ul><ul><li>teleservice centres, </li></ul><ul><li>online access centres, </li></ul><ul><li>community media centres </li></ul><ul><li>telecottages </li></ul><ul><li>? </li></ul>
    • 5. CTCs have a rich history <ul><li>Earliest reference (1987) to a place called Faergelanda in Sweden – an adult education school provided training in using personal computers. </li></ul><ul><li>Community centred and inspired with help from regional government and rural development organisations </li></ul>
    • 6. In the USA… <ul><li>CTC history is connected with social disadvantage in USA cities and the Internet </li></ul>
    • 7. In Australia… <ul><li>Rural development provided the impetus for CTC (telecentre) development. </li></ul><ul><li>These early centres along with Rural Transaction Centres (RTCs) provided a useful platform for the CTC initiative between 2000-2005. </li></ul>
    • 8. CTCs - popular vehicle for international development <ul><li>CTCs are enormously popular throughout Africa, Asia and South America. </li></ul><ul><li>Check out the website for telecentre.org - a public-private partnership between : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IDRC – International Development and Research Centre </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government of Canada </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Microsoft – Unlimited Potential Program </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SDC - Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation </li></ul></ul>
    • 9. CTCs and the Digital Divide <ul><li>CTCs are presented as an effective response to the Digital Divide. Why? </li></ul><ul><li>CTCs are generally effective in engaging with communities at a local level. </li></ul><ul><li>CTCs are effective in responding to a variety of information related needs </li></ul>
    • 10. CTCs in regional Australia <ul><li>The sale of telecommunications incumbent Telstra provided the funding for an ambitious plan to establish CTCs in regional areas of Australia in 2000 (Networking the Nation Scheme). </li></ul><ul><li>On the presentation of a suitable business plan and an organisation to auspice the CTC, communities were granted funds to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>purchase equipment; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rent premises; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>employ a manager </li></ul></ul>
    • 11. CTCs in regional Australia <ul><li>Common to all proposals was the date from which funding would cease – June 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>My investigation of CTCs has been limited to NSW (CTC@NSW). </li></ul>
    • 12. [email_address] <ul><li>Two years on the net number of CTCs in NSW has increased. </li></ul><ul><li>The CTCA (CTC Association in NSW) is in a relatively strong financial position to maintain a leadership role for a few years into the future. </li></ul>
    • 13. A successful outcome? <ul><li>The apparent success masks a considerable amount of work by CTC managers and the CTCA collective to manage very limited funds. </li></ul>
    • 14. A successful outcome? <ul><li>Only three CTCs out of (approximately) seventy are commercially independent. </li></ul><ul><li>The majority rely on support from local government by way of </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provision of premises; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>grants; and/or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>payment of utility costs (electricity and/or telecommunications) </li></ul></ul>
    • 15. Diversity of needs – a diversity of outcomes <ul><li>Its amazing to witness the variety of strategies that have been instituted by CTC managers and committed groups of enthusiastic volunteers throughout NSW. </li></ul>
    • 16. Examples <ul><li>All provide public access to computers, the Internet, printers, scanners fax etc </li></ul><ul><li>Email is a major application, as is word processing. </li></ul><ul><li>Young people interact using social technologies such as My Space and Bebo </li></ul>
    • 17. Community Newspapers <ul><li>Community newspapers have been a natural extension of CTC activities. </li></ul><ul><li>Provides a useful way to engage with community members. </li></ul><ul><li>Generates revenue from advertising </li></ul>
    • 18. Other information products <ul><li>Book publications, websites, e-commerce portals, DVDs, CDs, photography exhibitions. </li></ul><ul><li>Tourists information, oral histories, cook books, short stories, auto biographies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time intensive so tend to be “one off” rather than ongoing (cf newspapers) </li></ul></ul>
    • 19. ICT Training <ul><li>Some CTCs offer training courses. </li></ul><ul><li>In many cases, CTCs have become a “quasi-formal” training outlet catering for those who do not wish to attain formal certificates </li></ul>
    • 20. Community building <ul><li>Some CTCs contribute to the running of the local Chamber of Commerce. </li></ul><ul><li>Homework centres for children </li></ul><ul><li>Orders of Service for Funerals figure prominently in the case study accounts </li></ul><ul><li>Business cards </li></ul>
    • 21. Community building <ul><li>CTCs are found to respond to local problems by running activities that meet local needs. </li></ul><ul><li>CTC responses and programs are shaped by the background (expertise) of the manager. </li></ul>
    • 22. A one-stop shop for all of your ICT questions <ul><li>CTCs are often the first port of call for local business and private individuals experiencing problem with their PCs. </li></ul><ul><li>Its not feasible to charge a fee for this kind of enquiry. </li></ul>
    • 23. In summary, <ul><li>CTCs provide an interface to the “ICT revolution” in regional Australia. </li></ul><ul><li>CTCs are notable for the central place they hold in their town’s information economy. </li></ul>
    • 24. Normative Assumptions <ul><li>What ideas inspired the CTC@NSW program? </li></ul><ul><li>My assessment… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a belief in entrepreneurship; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a belief in economic markets; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>no long term role for Government </li></ul></ul>
    • 25. Normative Assumptions <ul><li>This represents a departure from the propositions laid in communications policy in Australia. </li></ul><ul><li>Telecommunication and Broadcasting </li></ul>
    • 26. Normative Assumptions
    • 27. A key question <ul><li>In the light of current evidence (since July 2005) was the departure from established norms justified? </li></ul>
    • 28. Entrepreneurship was a winner <ul><li>The response of CTC managers and volunteers indicates high levels of creativity and commitment to their local communities </li></ul>
    • 29. The economic reality in regional Australia <ul><li>Drought in rural areas, structural re-adjustment to changing industry base (eg fishing and timber) </li></ul><ul><li>Its illogical to think that a CTC will withstand circumstances that are closing banks, schools and supermarkets. </li></ul>
    • 30. The reality of the economics of information <ul><li>Information is a commodity but only to a limited extent (Arrow? and Lamberton). </li></ul>
    • 31. Market Failure <ul><li>The circumstances of the majority of CTCs reflects a situation of market failure – ie social good outcomes but insufficient commercial incentive </li></ul>
    • 32. Governments are no longer responsible for market failure? <ul><li>Federal governments claims they are no longer obliged to respond to market failure if suitable alternatives exist. </li></ul><ul><li>In relation to CTCs they point to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>volunteers and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Local Government. </li></ul></ul>
    • 33. Social development theory <ul><li>Midgley outlines four alternatives in the development of development paradigms. </li></ul>
    • 34. Social development theory <ul><ul><li>Neo-liberal – let the market rule and three cheers for entrepreneurship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A new set of rules – fill in your ideas here </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A combination of entrepreneurship and strategic intervention by the state. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Approaches that incorporate the paradigms from non-European traditions </li></ul></ul>
    • 35. Thankyou <ul><li>Thanks to the managers, volunteers and customers of the CTCs who participated in these studies. </li></ul>
    • 36. <ul><li>Its now time for your questions and comments. </li></ul>

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