Evaluating the digital divide : the Silver Surfer's perspective
The aim of this paper is to explore and ascertain using an information systems perspective evaluation framework, the factors encouraging the adoption and usage of online products and services, namely, in this case, broadband, within one particular population group – the silver surfer. As advances in government policies for the older population and the health care system are occurring, the population is ageing. To identify and explain the impacts of broadband on older adults, this research study was commissioned. Data was collected through e-mail, interviews and an online survey within OECD and non-OECD countries. The findings of this study illustrate that technical factors were not of primary importance. Non-technical factors were considered to be fundamental and clearly need to be taken into consideration when encouraging silver surfers to be come online interactive. What was also discovered is that interest, whether in technological or non-technological factors as well as communication are very pertinent in adopting and using technology. This research should offer a substantial contribution to various stakeholders including government agencies, management consulting firms, Internet Service Providers and IT organizations that may want to identify what drives the online interactions of silver surfers. This will also assist government agencies to understand the problem of low adoption and formulate a strategy to promote awareness and diffusion. The contribution to theory that this research offers is the development of an evaluative framework that has a household perspective and emphasises the silver surfers. Further, the framework should be applicable to both OECD and non-OECD countries provided the administered survey instrument is in the indigenous language and there is immense awareness to the questionnaire.