Rural Internet — not online but still connected

by Katherine Nightingale

, by Science and Development Network (SciDev.Net)

The Internet is spreading to villages in the developing world — but sometimes in unexpected ways, reports Katherine Nightingale.

When United Villages took the web to rural India, its vision was to liberate the poor by giving them tools from the digital age.

The communications group set up Internet terminals in remote villages and watched for a transformation. Almost three years later, technology is indeed enriching rural lives — but not quite how they expected. Rather than paying to send emails and surf the web villagers prefer to email their questions to someone who will do the surfing for them and return the answers in a pdf (portable document format) file. Read more