Living in a Digital Geraldton
The Internet is now an integral part of people’s lives. Many Greater Geraldton residents use the Internet at home and at work. When we started this project we spoke with a random sample of residents. They told us they use the Internet ‘for everything’. They send emails, shop and download or stream music, TV programs or movies. People use the Internet to stay in touch with family members overseas or as fundamental part of their business. Social media such as Facebook connects people of all locally and across the globe. Businesses use the Internet to order stock and deliver services, to find new clients and to collaborate with others.
However, we know from research on the use of media in Geraldton that one in four adults do not use the Internet or cannot access it as much as they want. Some people don’t know how to use the Internet and others don’t own a computer or if they do they are unable to get connected.
The Living in a Digital Geraldton survey investigated how residents use the Internet, what aspects they value most and what stops them from making the most use of it. We also asked residents about their expectations of the National Broadband Network for Geraldton and for themselves. There was even a section about increasing the City of Greater Geraldton’s provision of services online.
The survey was sent to a random sample of electors on 16 July with another group receiving the survey one month later. The survey is closed now. A big thank you to the 300+ people who participated.
Our preliminary analysis has found these key results:
- Internet use is not restricted to emails. People use the Internet for an average of nine different activities.
- People in Geraldton place the highest value on connecting with people and learning new information when they use the Internet.
- The younger the person the more highly he or she values the Internet for entertainment and for learning.
- The workplace is an environment where people learn about and gain confidence in the use of the Internet for money matters and learning.
- Lack of access to a fast and reliable Internet connection was the most frequently mentioned barrier to using the Internet more.
- Lack of confidence in the security of personal information was the second most frequently mentioned barrier.
- At least one quarter of respondents reported they did not know how the City or their household would benefit from the NBN.
- Two out of three people said they would use online City services to pay fines, check land information and find out about special interest groups they could join.