Towards universal broadband. Understanding the impact of policy initiatives on broadband diffusion and affordability
Type of work: Communication
Categories:e-Readiness | Information Society | Policy & Regulation
A new digital divide is emerging both within and between nations that is due to inequalities in broadband Internet access. Most previous research has focused on the broadband divide in developed countries and the role of several factors in bridging this divide, including competition specifically to provide broadband service. There seems to be very little research, however, that provides comprehensive explanations for the global broadband digital divide and, in particular, the impact of national public policy initiatives that seek to increase the availability and affordability of broadband service. Our research examines the broadband digital divide by analyzing the impact of national policies in the form of strategic planning, regulation and investment on the International Telecommunications Union’s broadband diffusion and broadband affordability indicators in more than 110 countries. Our multiple regression analysis shows that when controlling for measures of economic, political, social and educational development, there is greater broadband diffusion in countries that encourage competition in their broader telecommunications sector and make a higher shared financial investment in information and communication technologies. Of these two variables, only competition in the telecommunications sector within a country helps make broadband more affordable to its citizens.