IJIMT 2012 Vol.3(6): 682-687 ISSN: 2010-0248

Community Attitudes towards the Telecentre in Bario, Borneo Malaysia: 14 Years on

Sharon Cheuk, Azuriaty Atang, and May-Chiun Lo

Abstract—The overall aim of this study is to examine the community perceptions and attitudes towards the use of the telecentre in Bario, Sarawak, Malaysia. A qualitative research approach was chosen as it offered an avenue to investigate perceptions, attitudes and motivations. In-depth interviews were conducted, using a structured questionnaire, to collect qualitative data from local community persons (including telecentre users and non-users) in Bario. A total of 20 people were interviewed. The study was conducted in June 2012. The study revealed that a significant number of the respondents did not currently use the telecentre, due to, inter alia, the presence of alternative internet access methods, the perceived high cost of using the telentre and slow/problematic internet connection at the telecentre. General opinion of the telecentre is positive, in that it is a communication tool for personal and business matters. In terms of perceived ease of use, the telecentre is not considered difficult to use; however very few respondents exhibited enjoyment in its use, citing that it was only a meansto an end. Respondents perceived the telecentre to be useful overall, and some of those who were not able to use ICT or the telecentre nevertheless perceived that it had a business value to them. As this study is qualitative in nature, the sample size is considered small; hence, the generalisability of the research may be affected. Extension of the research findings using quantitative methods would prove beneficial for the validation of the findings. This is a first baseline study on communities’ attitudes towards the telecentre more than a decade after the said telecentre was set up. The findings will be relevant to future studies of community-based ICT initiatives and the broader areas of information-seeking, information-seeking behaviour, and user needs.

Index Terms—Telecommunications, communication technologies, telecentre, malaysia, rural areas, community attitudes.

Sharon Cheuk, Azuriaty Atang, and May-Chiun Lo are with the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia (e-mail: ccssharon@feb.unimas.my,aazuriaty@feb.unimas.my, mclo@feb.unimas.my).

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Cite: Sharon Cheuk, Azuriaty Atang, and May-Chiun Lo, "Community Attitudes towards the Telecentre in Bario,Borneo Malaysia: 14 Years on," International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 682-687, 2012.

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