Nordland online – technology for all?

This article investigates development and societal aspects of Large Technological Systems (LTS) from a bottom-up perspective, focusing on the distribution of telephone and electricity in Nordland County in the first half of the twentieth century. Here, both systems were initiated bottom-up as well as top-down, and unsynchronised. In a time and place where self-supply was common, the threshold for building local provisional solutions differed from that of our times. This fits well with how Rogers conceptualises decentralised diffusion of innovations, which is likely to take place parallel to a top-down and centralised distribution: 'Then the new ideas spread horizontally via peer networks, with a high degree of re-inventing occurring as the innovations were modified by users to fit their particular conditions. […] decision-making in the diffusion system is widely shared with adopters making many decisions.' (Rogers 2003: 395) Furthermore, the article highlights some significant gender differences between adopters and users of these then-new technologies. The article is based on statistics, archives and interviews.