Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
An Internet cafe or cybercafe is a place where one can use a computer with Internet access for a fee, usually per hour or minute; sometimes one can have unmetered access with a pass for a day or month, etc. It may or may not serve as a regular café as well, with food and drinks being served. In South Korea they are called PC bang. They are located world-wide, and most people use them when travelling to access webmail and instant messengers to keep in touch with family and friends. Internet cafes are also useful for making travel arrangements such as booking flights on a low-cost carrier. Some of them are also used for multiplayer gaming, having several computer stations connected on a LAN. In this case, the computers are specially assembled for gameplay, supporting popular multiplayer games. This is reducing the need of video arcades and arcade games, and many are being closed down or are being merged into Internet cafes.
There are also Internet access points in public places like airport halls, sometimes just for brief use while standing. Many hotels, resorts, and cruise ships offer Internet access for the convenience of their guests; this can take various forms, such as in-room wireless access, or a web browser that uses the in-room television set for its display (usually in this case the hotel provides a wireless keyboard on the assumption that the guest will use it from the bed), or computer(s) that guests can use, either in the lobby or in a business center. As with telephone service, in the US most mid-price hotels offer Internet access from a computer in the lobby to registered guests without charging an additional fee, while fancier hotels are more likely to charge for the use of a computer in their "business center."
For those traveling by road in North America, many truck stops have Internet kiosks, for which a typical charge is around 25 cents per minute.
Internet cafes are a natural evolution of the traditional cafe. Cafes started as places for information exchange, and have always been used as places to read the paper, send postcards home, play traditional or electronic games, chat to friends, find out local information. Cafes have also been in the forefront of promoting new technologies, for example, the car in 1950s California.
Internet cafes come in a wide range of styles, reflecting their location, main clientele, and sometimes, the social agenda of the proprietors. In the early days they were important in projecting the image of the Internet as a 'cool' phenomena.
As internet access is in increasing demand, many pubs, bars and cafes have terminals, so the distinction between the internet cafe and normal cafe is eroded.
In most developing countries Internet cafes are the main locations for people to access the internet . In countries with censoring regimes such as China or Singapore, Internet cafes are closely controlled. In some places computers are in booths to allow private access to pornography. In some areas of Los Angeles they are controlled because they attract street gangs. While most internet cafes are private businesses many have been set up to help bridge the 'digital divide', providing computer access and training to those without home access. For example, the UK government has supported the setting up of 6000 telecentres.
Internet cafes in the United Kingdom
- Wifi-cafe, about places where people can connect a brought-along notebook or PDA using the cafe's wireless access to the Internet.
- Stewart (2000). Cafematics: the Cybercafe and the Community, in Community Informatics: Enabling Communities with Information and Communications Technologies. ed M. Gurstein.Idea Group, Toronto
- Sonia Liff and Anne Sofie Laegran (2003) Cybercafés: debating the meaning and significance of internet access in a café environment, New Media & Society Vol 5 (3)
- Anne-Sofie Lagran and James Stewart(2003), Nerdy, trendy or healthy? Configuring the internet cafe, New Media & Society Vol 5 (3) 35
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details