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        The last quarter of the 20th century has seen the much-talked-about information-technology (IT) revolution. It has been characterized by the emergence and proliferation of new information and communication technologies (NICTs), and the Internet (electronic space, or e-space for short) is the key component. In the midst of all this (and at the end of this module!), I feel that it is appropriate to take a step back from all the nitty-gritty, to reflect on what is going on around us. There has been so much talk, in the political, commercial and public arenas, about the latest developments on the Internet, the mind-boggling options and luxuries of electronic communication, and so on. But it is a fact that there exists a sizable population of people for whom all these mean very little, because of problems of access to e-space. I will discuss some of these problems, first on a larger scale, dealing across countries, and then on a narrower scale, dealing within countries and with gender issues. I will also touch on two broad examples of projects that have been undertaken in relation to alleviating some of these problems. 

        What is meant by 'access'?

        Access, I feel, refers not only to the physical access to computing hardware. It also encompasses intellectual access (the ability and knowledge with regard to using computers and e-space), time/opportunity (the time that one has for engaging in e-space, be it for leisure or as part of one’s profession), as well as intangibles like psychological access (elaborated on later).

Global Scale - Across Countries

Introduction/ What is meant by 'access'?     Global Scale - Across Countries

Within Countries     Another Issue - Gender-based Access

 What has been done about the problems?      Conclusion