In April we will be presenting a new longitudinal analysis of Swiss World Internet Project data at the Annual Conference of the Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research that addresses the adoption rates of the (mobile) Internet and specific uses, how these have evolved between 2011 and 2017, which digital divides regarding use, skills, and perceptions persist and how they have changed.
The study provides nationally representative and long-term data, which allows not only reliable results on current digital divides in Switzerland, but also important insights into their evolution. Thereby, an assessment of the success and suitability of existing policy measures for digital inclusion can be made. Such empirical results have been missing thus far but form a crucial basis and legitimization for potential policies regarding ICT developments. A broad view on Internet use and related perceptions is needed to complement existing, more specific analyses (e.g., use of voting advice applications or health information seeking) to locate structural digital inequalities in the information society. The case of Switzerland as a European country with very high Internet penetration offers indications for policies that also have value for other social democracies where the Internet is crucial for everyday functioning.