Online pre-publication version of paper on informational life of the poor by DIRSI

Telecommunications Policy give access to pre-published version of "The informational life of the poor: A study of digital access in three Mexican towns" written by Judith Mariscal Avilés,Sebastián Benítez Larghi and María Angélica Martínez Aguayo.

The paper seeks to contribute to the debate on the impact of the adoption of information technologies (ICT) in poverty reduction by understanding how the poor obtain, share and use ICT on their everyday life – called informational lives of the poor by authors. It identifies the opportunities and challenges regarding ICT adoption in three rural communities with different levels of marginalization and connectivity in Mexico. Using “before and after” studies it attempts to identify and understand mechanisms through which ICT (and broadband, in particular), may have an impact on poverty alleviation.

Using a combination of the Capabilities Approach and Livelihoods Perspective, this research shows that mobile broadband access (as opposed to fixed shared access) and effective training through the role of infomediaries enables low-income communities to develop new skills, to engage in new practices and to find useful applications for old and new abilities, needs and interests. A specific finding that has not received attention in the literature is the productive role of immediate family members as infomediaries; the weight of family networks plays a crucial role in learning about ICTs. These networks fuel a sense of confidence required to handle knowledge and practices that are initially alien in this sector.