Internet Cabinas in Peru
In a previous article, we discussed the various ways by which people access the Internet --- from home, at work, at school or elsewhere. We pointed out how the uses of these different methods may differ significantly by demographic characteristics as well as quantitative and qualitative aspects of internet usage.
Within Latin America, there has been a phenomenal growth in internet usage through an access method that is not common in North America or Europe, namely the public kiosk (known as the Internet cabina). In the recently released TGI Peru study of 2,007 survey respondents between the ages of 12 and 64 in Lima, a full 29.5% said that they are Internet users. By all accounts, this is an astonishing level of incidence for any Latin American country.
If we examine the method of access of these Peruvian internet users, we find that the 29.5% figure is broken down into 20.2% who have accessed the internet via cabinas públicas (possibly in addition to other methods) and 9.3% who do not use cabinas públicas. So why have these cabinas públicas made such a significant difference in Peru?
The major reason for the success is their relative low cost, which makes them affordable to the masses. Here is a sample price list (exchange rate: 1 Peruvian Nuevo Sol = 0.278 US Dollar)
- A partir de las 6:00 am hasta las 04:00 de la tarde S/ 2.00 hora o fracción.
- Desde las 04:00 de la tarde :
- Una hora S/. 2.50
- Media hora S/. 2.00
- Quince minutos S/. 1.00
- Maratón de 11:00 pm a 8:00 am S/10.00
- Llamadas a U.S.A. y Canadá :
- Una hora S/. 5.00.
- Media hora S/. 3.00.
- Quince minutos S/. 2.00.
- Escaneo S/. 1.00.
- Grabado de CD S/.20.00 (incluye CD) y S/.15.00. si usted trae su CD.
- Servicio de impresión S/. 0.50 para hoja en B/N solo texto. A color y fotos de acuerdo con el tamaño que ocupe en la hoja (preguntar).
- Servicio de tipeo de trabajos S/. 1.50 por hoja y los trabajos se dejan de un día para otro (incluye la impresión de solo texto B/N).
The following table compares the demographic characteristics of the internet cabina users against others.
|Demographic Characteristics||All persons 12-64 years old||Internet cabina users||Internet users, no cabinas|
Two-thirds of the internet cabina users are between the ages of 12 to 24 years old, and 45% of them are currently students. They are also less affluent than the non-cabina internet users. Most internet cabinas offer off-peak student discounts upon presentation of proof of identification. Internet cabina users are not all students. Due to the proliferation of formal cabinas as well as self-help informal cabinas in Lima, even businessmen find it easy to drop by and pick up their e-mail while they make their business rounds. This is much easier than finding a telephone connection somewhere to dial up with a laptop.
The internet cabina imposes some restrictions on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of usage. In the following table, we show the time spent using Internet. Overall, the Internet cabina users spend less time on the Internet.
|Time Spend using Internet in last 30 days||Internet cabina users||Internet users, no cabinas|
|30 hours or more
Less than 5 hours but more than zero
The next table shows a list of the frequent Internet activities.
Frequent internet activity
|Internet cabina users||Internet users, no cabinas|
|Visit a chat room||34.5%||17.5%|
|Make long-distance telephone calls||18.8%||11.6%|
|Read local news||6.4%||13.9%|
|Read international news||5.7%||9.8%|
The Internet cabina has enabled a new generation of people to gain access, who would have been otherwise unable to have access through the traditional methods of access.
(posted by Roland Soong, 4/28/2001)
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