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Australian Internet Cafes

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is an internet cafe?
    Internet Cafe's provide public internet access for a fee, usually depending upon the amount of time you use the service. They are typically set up in a retail shop space and may also actually serve coffee. Some are set up in other spaces, above main street shops for example. Some are not cafes as such, and may be business service centres or a convenience store with a couple of PC's stuck in a corner.
  2. What is the history of the internet cafe?
    The entry for Internet Cafes at Wikipedia describes a weekend arts event in London in 1994, for which a fellow, Ivan Pope, was commissioned to develop an internet concept. Thus the Cybercafe was born.
  3. What is the purpose of an internet cafe?
    To make money. Well, it is a business is it not? As a business, it's service is the provision of internet access to the public.

    From the customer's point of view, the purpose was largely the access to email in the beginning and web browsing as well. The web browsing was often at speeds that couldn't be achieved with a home connection and so more tolerable. Some people could access the internet from work, but for many that was not always available, possible or acceptable practice.

    These days, you will find people indulging in the ever growing and popular multi-player online gaming.

  4. What makes a good internet cafe?
    Dare I say that a damn fast and reliable connection is a basic requirement. Low fees and good ergonomics for both the chair and computer setup are very important. How much privacy is provided?

    The service offerings will also differentiate. If you want to play games, what games are available? If you want to access your email, can you spawn attachments? Facilities to print, upload pictures from your digital camera, pop in a USB storage device and burn a disc may be important for you.

    Ofcourse, access to reasonable refreshments, including a fine coffee, is always pleasant.

  5. What hardware and software is in an internet cafe?
    Lots of PCs (usually) running MS Windows (usually). But it could be Macs and it could be Linux. Then you'd be noticing a fair whack of cabling, server(s) stuck somewhere and typical office things like a phone, fax and stapler.

    Some sort of internet access management and payment system is typically used.

  6. What else is in an internet cafe?
    People doing something similar. This is not being silly. An internet cafe gives something a little different than using one of those stand alone kiosks in a shopping centre.

    One or more of the people around will be running and maintaining the place. They are someone to throw a question at. And then there are the other users, some of whom remind you that it also isn't a library when they shout "Got you man!" during some multi-player gun fight.

    There are often other services: fix and upgrade your PC, phone cards and pre-paid mobile payment and photocopying are some other things you may notice.

  7. What skills/people do you need to run an internet café?
    Know your hardware, software and network. Eternal patience. Good small business acumen.

(C)opyright Gnomon Publishing, 2006

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