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Abstract

This article examines the effect of a project funded by New Opportunities Funding (NOF) that supports the UK government's policy to establish 700 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) centers in deprived rural and inner city areas based in England. By drawing on evidence from a case study funded by NOF, the paper argues that there remains an underpinning assumption by government that simply by introducing technology to disadvantaged communities, the digital divide will be removed and people will go online. This paper argues that this “top down” approach is limited in its success when it is not grounded in the realities of the day-to-day living of individuals and community groups and the social and economic climate in which they are located. Our evidence suggests that simply providing access and support in skills training does not lead individuals and community groups to making effective use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and that further consideration needs to be given as to why people and community groups should go online.