About 50% of the population in Brazil frequently uses the Internet. Especially in the urban areas most users go online on a daily basis. To do so they chose different locations like at home, at work, at friends’ places, by cell phone, in cybercafes or public access points. And what about the other 50%? In fact, those have never been online. They have probably heard about Google or Facebook somewhere. But they never clicked themselves through the web, never posted a silly photo and never read the news online. It is not a secret that there is a relation between higher income and increasing Internet access. Also in Brazil Internet users can be found mostly in middle and upper class families while lower income families are rarely connected to the net. To improve social inclusion also in the digital sphere there is a number of public programs and initiatives directed to this part of the population. One is the program Praças Digitais (Digital Squares) in the city of São Paulo which started their first connection tests on Thursday, 01 August 2013, at Dom José Gaspar Square in the center of São Paulo. Praças Digitais is organized by a number of actors, among them the city of São Paulo and the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br). Until October 2013 120 public squares in the city will become points of free Internet access. A complete list of access points can be found here: link.
Of course, these access points are open for everyone and especially in the center of town it is very likely that they will be used mainly by those who are accessing the net also in other places. But what makes the program interesting is the fact, that a lot of access points will be placed in areas far away from the center where general Internet access is quite low. In those areas of town Praças Digitais could improve the (digital) quality of life in case the new users have what everyone needs, also at a free Internet access point: the technical equipment.