Universalising electronic government services: facing the digital divide challenge
Many governments have made considerable efforts to develop and offer e-government services. It has been argued that e-government services have been made available in many countries, but unequal access and ineffective usage are major obstacles for the realisation of e-government benefits. Inequality includes, but is not limited to, a low-level of education, limited access to quality ICT, a lack of willingness to use the services, and a low-level of income. Such disadvantaged groups experience difficulty in accessing and benefitting from the online services. This dissertation aims to analyse the challenges hindering the universalisation of e-government services in the context of the digital divide. It will focus on the issues from the demand side which refers to the viewpoint of citizens concerning the use of e-government. A literature review was conducted in which 42 articles were carefully selected and reviewed. The analysis of these studies has revealed that there are three main barriers which would function as obstacles to the universalisation of e-government services and those barriers are demographic, geographical and a lack of digital skills. Some theoretical and practical implications are presented.