Why Are Internet Cafes Still Popular?

Why Are Internet Cafes Still Popular?
internetcafeHome Internet penetration is above 85%, and 3G broadband is more popular than ever. In that scenario, how do Internet cafes survive?

Picture by Casey Serin

The BBC News team examined that question, and concluded that hanging out in a social space is an important factor:[imgclear]

Apart from practical needs, it seems like some people still go to the smallest web cafes because they want to feel part of a community, and surf and chat in a familiar atmosphere.

One obvious explanation which the write-up entirely ignores is the role of Internet cafes as a key means of communication for travellers. It’s also (understandably) rather biased towards UK culture, so I thought I’d ask our Australian readers: when do you find yourself in Internet cafes? Do they still have a role to play? Share your ideas in the comments.

Who still uses internet cafes? [BBC News]


  • I’ve never been big on internet cafes as such, but Internet Kiosks have been useful to me. The ones you see around in airports or shopping centres, particularly if they have a printer attached.

    They have come in handy when I’ve been at a shopping centre and trying to pricematch another store. Just hop onto the kiosk, print a catalogue page & take it in. Costs between $2-3 dollars depending on the kiosk.

  • I’ve rarely used an internet cafe. The only instances it’s happened is when i’m travelling overseas to catch up with family and friends or if there’s something urgent that requires a computer or internet access.

  • I know some places where there is stuff already downloaded onto the computer. You can just copy them onto a USB instead of having to download them. Also they generally have faster internet speeds so its a popular option.

  • Internet cafes still have a place because they’re there for LAN gaming, perhaps not so much for surfing and chatting, but for teamwork. There is also a large variety of games (..and movies) on the computers.

  • Travelling is probably the only time I’d use an internet cafe, but these days with wifi and ultra portable internet devices, it would be rare.

    Maybe if I had to print something. I don’t like using public pc’s because of the risk of keyloggers etc.

  • Its handy for me when I am out and I need to dash off a quick email, or want to check a catalogue for pricematching.

    I suppose those things can be done on 3g phones, but as a prepaid user with a small budget they are pretty much out of my price range at the moment.

  • We have lots of travellers and students here without access to regular broadband contracts.

    I also found that when I was travelling in the UK that I couldn’t get a cheap roaming wireless pass unless I had a credit/debit card issued by a UK/EU bank. The rates were much higher for travellers from outside this zone.

    Regardless of where I’ve been (Australia or Europe), most internet cafe terminals are still hotbeds of viruses and other malware. If you can’t plug in your own device you’re screwed.

    In Italy they commonly try to screw you by getting copies of your passport before they let you log-in – which is a fantastic way for criminals to steal your identity, since they can log your email and passwords too. The proprietor of one of these places told me that it was standard around the world, because it was an international law.

  • I find myself going to the Internet Cafe to hang out with friends.

    It’s much easier than setting up a LAN at someone’s house. Internet Cafe’s are cheap too, so when we all wanna hang out and play some PC games, we just go to the internet cafe.

  • Net cafes are still popular with the younger generation (like me) who can’t fork out 2500 for a computer. This is pretty common where i live so you will see kids going out to the internet cafe all the time to play games and such.

  • I use Internet Cafes all the time when I’m travelling in Australia. The majority of places I stay at don’t have wireless internet or you have to pay exoribtant fees, and I don’t fancy carrying around my Wind around just to connect. I find that compared to most places around the world hourly fees here in Australia are quite good, and the speed is fast. I carry around a USB key and use the software on my key rather than use the software on cafe terminals. I wouldn’t use a cafe terminal to do banking and such though.

    The only other time I would use the local Internet Cafe is when the local library’s terminals are down. I carry a YHA Connect card that’s cashed up, and also have a cashed up Everything Internet account. That covers me for the majority of Internet Cafes around Australia.

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