This essay surveys and synthesizes the academic literature, archival sources and interviews with key policy makers regarding the emergence of community technology centers in the US. Community Technology Centers CTCs came to the fore in the late 1990s through an activist nonprofit sector combined with federal government and private sector funding. Federal data indicates that CTCs now represent the most important access points to information communications technology for the poor in the US. This essay reviews the latest arguments for and against continued investment in CTCs and public access in general. In addition to providing access, which is often used beneficially for employment and education related purposes, CTCs appear to contribute to social capital as they become social gathering points. This paper concludes, that both government and nonprofits play a vital role in ensuring public access for the poor and that continued investment in CTCs is warranted.
Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 2003