Digital divide is a challenging issue for Malaysia as approximately half the population still lives in the rural areas. Rural populations are disadvantaged in terms not only of inferior telecommunication infrastructure, but also of lower standard of living as compared to urban dwellers. The affordability of being networked (“Income factor”) is an important issue that can prevent the diffusion of ICT to the mass population; this particularly affects those living in rural areas. The Malaysian government has already adopted a Universal Service Provision (USP) policy to spread the use of ICT regardless of the differences in geographical location and “income factor”. However, its programs have been limited in scope and coverage. This paper reports an investigation based upon a questionnaire survey into how Malaysian public servants, as representatives of the general population, both in urban and rural areas, value the use of the Internet as is reflected by their Willingness to Pay for the services. The investigation also examined to what degree “income factor” influences the population's use of the Internet service. The research objective is to measure the differences between the urban and rural respondents in the perceived value of being networked.
ASJC Scopus subject areas