Chapter 1: Introduction    
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This dissertation looks at one possible way that the global “Digital Divide” can be narrowed.  Conventionally, International Development Aid has concentrated on bringing the masses of potential users in developing countries on to the Internet by encouraging government financed programs and small scale projects aimed at achieving “sustainability”.  The literature is not brimming over with successful examples of this approach.  In a parallel domain, privately funded microfinance institutions have shown great success in boosting local economies through small business start-ups made possible through micro-loans. (Gangemi, 2005)  The principle of using business mechanisms to achieve Development objectives is therefore established.  However, few have brought the principles of business management and information technology together to try and establish a viable and replicable model for providing Internet access in the developing world. (At least, no empirical published work was found.)


The research undertaken as part of the MSc in Information Technology and Management tests a model that was devised by the author and attempts to discover the main factors affecting the viability of an Internet business in the developing world.  A case study business called Supernet (not the real name) Internet, based in Aceh province, Indonesia was used for the research.  If an understanding of these viability factors can be grasped, and a model devised which exhibits strong profitability, it is believed that entrepreneurs will copy and replicate the model, thereby extending Internet access to more users.  


In chapter two, the problem domain is explored, including the background to development thinking on the Digital Divide and a review of the pertinent literature.  The research questions are then developed and clarified.


The rationale behind the development of a proposed business model for broadband Internet businesses in the developing world is discussed in chapter three.  Out of this flows the choice and justification of research designed to test and better understand its viability.  The choice of research methodologies is then justified.


Chapter four describes the research itself: the design and administration of the user questionnaire, and the methods used for monitoring users and bandwidth usage.  The questionnaire was used to determine the demographic makeup and preference of the current users at Supernet‘s Internet cafés.  The customers‘ usage of the Internet café was monitored through the use of software, enabling a profile of use to be built up.  This showed when computers and bandwidth were being used, which applications were used and what categories of Internet resources were visited.  In addition, audited Profit and Loss accounts were obtained for the six months prior to the research. The collection and collation of these data are then discussed.  The questionnaire is presented in Appendix B.  Since the research was conducted in Indonesia, the questionnaire was made available in English and Indonesian.


The results of the research are presented in chapter five.  Most of the data is shown as charts, and in graphical form.  An analysis of these results and reflections on their interpretation and the implications of the data are presented in the penultimate chapter.


Conclusions have been drawn and are discussed in chapter seven, which also evaluates the research.  


The results showed that, for the case study business, the following conclusions can be made:


The conclusions are discussed in terms of their applicability to other places and some proposals are made concerning how a viable Internet business could be planned elsewhere based on the principles learned through this research.


At the end of the final chapter, some suggestions are made for further research of the subject.


GANGEMI, J (2005) Microcredit Missionary Business Week 3965, p20-21

Edited by the author for the web.

© Copyright, 2006  Rob Longhurst (rlonghurst@drasticom.org)