Definition:Digital divide – how access to communication technology such as wireless and cell phones creates a divide between those who live in areas with good and fast coverage compared to those who don’t. Fast coverage is defined as 3G or better.
Reconsidering regulations:US: Divestiture of AT&T (1984)Norway: privatizing Televerket (1988)Telecommunications Act of1996 – free marketContinued strong regulation of private actors in Norway –
Regulations of the mobile industry:Norwegian regulations are founded on the premise of equality and universal service as a good to the society. Universal service IS a political goal, but also the desire to be the leading edge in mobile technology. Nordic countries collaboration on mobile project NMT450 makes it possible. The American regulatory approach is based on Adam Smith: the free market will regulate the supply and demand in the best interest of the consumers.
Why different approach: Norway – political goal of equal access and universal serviceUS – free market ideal is a strong value in regulation
Limitations and further research:Countries of very different size and cultural heritageDifferent political traditionsDigital divide – research social, cultural and economic effect of digital divide
Effects of mobile network regulations
The big question Does government regulation requiring mobile carriers to provide mobile infrastructure in rural areas reduce a digital divide in rural areas?
Similar origins –different directions Both US and Norwegian telecommunications policies were based on universal service and equity AT&T was allowed to (and had to) post a profit, which could be then reinvested in infrastructure and extended service. The Norwegian telephone system was only able to expand when allocated money from the federal budget,
PENETRATION OF TELEPHONES Sources: Cohen 1992, Telenor 2009
Early adoption – unified service Norway – first in the world to develop mobile networks; well-functioning system facilitated early adoption. Reduced barriers for major majority. US – several technologies, lack of interconnection, lack of coverage. Later adoption and poorer penetration.
Specific requirements Norway: geographic requirements, percentage of population, and network speed United States: Minimal – just cover 2/3 of population within 5 years. Allows providers to just serve urban areas
Conclusion Lack of regulation does increase digitial divide based on access to high-speed services Cost beyond personal – inefficient, expensive
Credits Presentation by Inge Scheve. MCDM University of Washington CC share-and-share alike, non-commercial use firstname.lastname@example.org, http://twitter.com/IngeScheve Flickr CC photos: Telephone lines 1942: Library of Congress - http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2179061201/ Wireless telephone, Los Angeles, 1910: Library of Congress - http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/2765467596/ SIM card: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mroach/1481099272 Telenor lines:http://www.flickr.com/photos/bushman_k/2158630303/in/set-72157603614787097 Telenor handset:http://www.flickr.com/photos/asimzb/2140091503 Telefonkiosker: http://www.flickr.com/photos/iammadforit/3387884738 Modern pay phones in Stockholm:http://www.flickr.com/photos/vargklo/150563157 Old telephones:http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgroi/4270717569