If you wanted evidence of the rapid spread of the internet into the lives Australians, look no further than the figures recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Its report Household Use of Information Technology found that access to the internet at home between 1998 and 2008 increased by a factor of four from 16 percent to 72 percent. Home PC access increased from 44 percent to 78 percent over the same period. The number of homes with broadband also increased by 18 percent over the previous year, to an estimated 5 million, or 86 percent of all internet-connected homes.
Not surprisingly – and unfortunately – the highest uptake corresponds with the highest income bracket. This is an issue that needs to be taken into account now as we move to greater and greater levels of online service delivery. The alternative is a two-tier society of the connected and unconnected.