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Beyond Broadband Access

Developing Data-Based Information Policy Strategies

Richard D. Taylor, Amit M. Schejter

Publication Year: 2013

After broadband access, what next? What role do metrics play in understanding “information societies”? And, more importantly, in shaping their policies? Beyond counting people with broadband access, how can economic and social metrics inform broadband policies, help evaluate their outcomes, and create useful models for achieving national goals? Broadly described, this book addresses those questions. Information metrics are important, and often political. For example, what does it mean that one economy is ranked higher than another on a list of some e-measure? Any deeper understanding of a complex, multi-dimensional set of variables based on extensive data is lost in an international game of “we’re better than you are” or asking “how can we catch up?” While there is broad international consensus that policy decisions are improved if they are informed by empirical data, there is no accepted standard as to which data matters. Many possible information indicators have been measured. But standing alone, what do they tell us? Which ones are important? Does their selection predetermine certain outcomes? Can they be transformed into truly useful policy tools? How do we know which data to collect, unless there are identified goals? This book is divided into two parts – the first deals with theoretical aspects of measuring information and the issues that should be taken into consideration when designing broadband-focused information policy; while the second demonstrates how data has been both used and abused for argumentation purposes with regards to choices among different policy paths.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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INTRODUCTION: NUMBERS THAT MATTER

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pp. 1-6

In recent years the information policy discourse has been inundated by numbers and metrics, which purportedly describe the “information society” and refl ect national levels of such measures as e- readiness and the digital divide. In policy circles, just the ranking among some of these lists has been seen as an impetus for policy development. For example, President Barack...

PART I Theory

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CHAPTER 1 Beyond Broadband Access

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pp. 17-22

Around the world, claims that broadband infrastructure is central to the development of the knowledge economy are becoming indisputable. Many governments are taking steps to ensure their regulatory environments encourage private sector investment in broadband,1 consistent with Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recommendations ...

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CHAPTER 2 Understanding Digital Gaps

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pp. 31-50

Since the 1960s, the field of information studies has had a tradition of trying to understand the role of information in society by measurement, typically by counting things: media, words, bits, and so on. This reflects an intuitive sense that something important is happening. Because of the intangible...

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CHAPTER 3 Broadband Microfoundations

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pp. 51-68

To date, most of the empirical effort to understand broadband service markets has focused on availability and adoption metrics and data. Data of this sort is indeed valuable when the dominant policy questions concern penetration and uptake. However, as broadband availability and penetration saturate, such data will become less informative. The next set of questions,...

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CHAPTER 4 Adoption Factors of Ubiquitous Broadband

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pp. 69-87

Broadband networks are widely recognized as an indicator of the knowledge economy. Employing secondary data, this chapter examines adoption factors of “ubiquitous broadband” that includes both fixed and mobile technologies. Along with other industry, ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and demographic variables, the results of regression analysis...

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CHAPTER 5 Data and Modeling Challenges in International Comparisons

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pp. 88-102

A growing number of regulatory agencies, policy making institutions, and intergovernmental organizations rely on some form of benchmarking to periodically assess the effects of policy and regulation. The design and calculation of such metrics is facilitated by a more systematic and abundant information base. However, daunting conceptual and empirical issues have to be ...

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CHAPTER 6 Data, Policy, and Democracy

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pp. 103-112

Madison’s description of the infrastructure necessary to combine thirteen colonies into a unified state gave readers of Federalist Paper 14 an assurance that democratic and economic participation could become a reality under the new government. Madison also drew the necessary causality—the potential...

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CHAPTER 7 “Rulers of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens”

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pp. 113-128

During his presidential campaign in 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama stated his belief “that America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access.”1 Following up on his campaign agenda and upon becoming president, Obama promised in his inaugural address to “build . . . digital lines.” Neither the campaign promise nor the presidential commitment...

PART II The Use and Abuse of Data in Information Policy Making

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CHAPTER 8 PhD Heal Thyself

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pp. 131-142

Researchers habitually complain about policy makers and bureaucrats not sticking to so-called facts and figures but being guided by ideology. The more recent terminology is the call for “evidence-based policy.” These objections come from the political left by media reformers and from the political right by free-market libertarians. In both cases they are directed against those...

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CHAPTER 9 Case Studies in Results-Driven Decision Making at the FCC

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pp. 143-157

Despite its legal obligation to serve the public interest1 and generate a complete evidentiary record,2 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) frequently cannot resist the temptation to engage in results-driven decision making. Rather than rely on empirical evidence to support its decisions, 3 which would pass peer review by independent third parties, it appears...

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CHAPTER 10 The Determinants of Disconnectedness

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pp. 158-188

This chapter reviews recent US broadband data, and briefly discusses why the broadband “connectedness” portrayed in the FCC postal code–level data is in some respects problematic, with the problem of “disconnectedness” addressed in this chapter a potentially more signifi cant problem than the FCC postal code numbers may suggest. This chapter’s preliminary conclusions...

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CHAPTER 11 European Broadband Spending

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pp. 189-208

Currently, many advanced countries have proposed broadband as part of the government’s responsibility to combat the digital divide. The idea is that government should increase the accessibility of broadband to people who have not yet been able to access it, especially in rural areas. A prime example has been the so-called Obama Package, a $787 billion stimulus bill signed ...

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CHAPTER 12 Using Data for Policy Development

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pp. 209-228

Many developing countries have established universal service funds to subsidize the extension of a telecommunications infrastructure to areas that are unattractive to private investment because of high costs or low revenue potential. There are many challenges in implementing these funds, particularly where there is little experience in estimating demand for new services such as ...

NOTES

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pp. 229-268

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 269-296

CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. 297-304

INDEX

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pp. 305-312


E-ISBN-13: 9780823251858
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823251834

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 70 b/w
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Cloth
Series Title: Donald McGannon Communication Research Center's Everett C. Parker Book Series