A Study of Mobile Technology in a Cape York Community: Its Reality Today and Potential for the Future

Publisher:
AIATSIS Research Publications
Publication Type:
Chapter
Citation:
Information Technology and Indigenous Communities, 2013, 1st, pp. 9 - 26
Issue Date:
2013-01
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This chapter presents a study of mobile technology adoption and use by an Aboriginal community in Cape York undertaken for the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council. The installation of a Telstra 3G mobile phone network in January 2008 represented a major change in the provision of information and communication technologies (ICT) to this and many other communities in the Cape. The study showed high rates of ownership of mobile phones and MP3 players. Mobile phones had become an essential tool for communicating with family and friends and for work, and in addition people made good use of the multimedia and internet features of their phones. Key factors in the acquisition of mobile phones were identified as the superior cost management that mobiles offered over other lCT, and their multimedia functionality and portability. The total design of the mobile service in terms of hardware, functionality and billing options was seen as superior from a social construction perspective. Major deficits uncovered by the study include the limited mobile coverage in areas frequented by community members, the high costs of mobile phone calls, and the lack of recognition of the potential of mobile technology to develop capacity, improve services, and sustain cultural and language revitalisation.
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