Internet Diffusion Not Divide: A Proximity Model of Internet Take Off in Russia

Richard Rose

Research output: Book/ReportOther Report


The digital divide is a doubly flawed description of Internet use in a society. It dichotomizes the population into those who are users and those who are not, ignoring the intermediate categories of those who are closer to one or another of these two extremes. In addition, the digital divide is a static model; it projects into the future statistics that are increasingly out of date as a description of current usage, because of a time lag of up to several years between the collection of usage data and publication in official sources (cf. ITU, 2003).

Whereas a static model cannot account for the spread of Internet use within a society, a diffusion model can (see Rogers, 1995). Diffusion is a process that begins when a new technological innovation appears in the market place, for example, television sets or the automobile. The first move in the diffusion process is the adoption of the innovation by a small group of leaders. Once this has occurred, the innovation then spreads among those in closest social, economic or geographical proximity to the innovators, turning more and more people into adopters until a limit is reached.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherUniversity of Oxford
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Publication series

NameOxford Internet Institute Research Report No. 10, 2006

Bibliographical note

This study was written whilst the author was a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. Funding for the New Russia Barometer survey analyzed herein came from a British Economic & Social Research Council (RES 000-03-0193) grant to the Centre for the Study of Public Policy, University of Aberdeen, of which the author is director, to research Diverging Paths of Post-Communist Countries.

© Oxford Internet Institute 2006


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