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CURATOR
A pinboard by
Erezi Ogbo

Doctoral Student, Carnegie Mellon University

PINBOARD SUMMARY

My current research focuses on ways to reduce the urban-rural digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa by understanding mobile service substitution in the mobile markets and designing policies to increase mobile broadband connectivity to underserved communities. The results could be used by mobile carriers and regulators in designing business models and regulations​ that ensure equity in mobile service access and use while maintaining growth in revenues generated.

18 ITEMS PINNED

A cost study of fixed broadband access networks for rural areas ☆

Abstract: The deployment of high-capacity broadband access networks in rural areas in Europe lags behind that in urban and suburban areas. This study assesses the cost implications for the rollout of fixed access networks capable of providing citizens with downstream broadband capacities of 30 Mbps or 100 Mbps, which have been defined in the European Digital Agenda as targets that should be met by 2020. A cost model was employed to determine the cost of a home passed and the cost of a home connected for various fibre- and copper-based networks in rural areas. It was found that the cost of deploying a network outside a town or village in a rural area is on average 80% higher than the cost of deploying the network in the town or village. This situation may lead to a digital divide within the same rural area. For all the geotypes analysed, the following order of costs (in descending order) was identified: FTTH, FTTdp-Building, FTTdp-Street, FTTRN, FTTC and CO-VDSL. Given the long lengths of distribution, feeder and drop segments required, some network architectures will not be able to provide all households in some areas with the minimum bandwidth of 30 Mbps as defined in the European Digital Agenda. Overall, it is possible that operators will need to create a combination of various broadband access networks, due to the significant cost differences between networks. Policymakers will need to address several topics to promote the rollout of broadband networks in rural areas: how the digital divide within a rural area can be avoided; a National Broadband Plan that clearly addresses the provisioning of broadband in rural areas; elaboration of studies on broadband demand in rural areas; and the assessment of costs and technical capacity of wireless networks in rural areas.

Pub.: 27 May '16, Pinned: 04 Aug '17

Using Internet technologies in rural communities to access services: The views of older people and service providers

Abstract: Older people in rural communities increasingly rely on the Internet to access essential health, finance, education, and other social services. However, their abilities to participate in the online service system are often undermined by a continuing ‘digital divide’. This divide may be exacerbated by the strategies of service providers who fail to recognise and respond to the needs of older rural clients. This paper is based on a case study in Clare, a small rural town in South Australia, and examines the experiences of older residents and local service providers in trying to engage online for digital service delivery. Drawing on two sets of in-depth interviews, the study uses a mix of thematic content analysis and social network analysis to identify the nature and extent of digital interactions between older people and service providers, and the enablers and challenges for online service engagement. Older participants demonstrated considerable interest in learning how to use the Internet for accessing particular services, with social support networks and third party facilitators being crucial enablers. Service providers’ ambitions to engage with older people online appeared more limited as a result of entrenched stereotypes of older non-users, a lack of internal digital skills, as well as organisational and funding constraints. The case study findings emphasise the importance of balancing the views of older people and service providers in the design of online engagement strategies. These insights are critical for improving online service delivery in rural communities affected by an increasing withdrawal of physical services.

Pub.: 02 Aug '16, Pinned: 04 Aug '17

Digital oases and digital deserts in Sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract: Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Volume 7, Issue 1, March 2016. Purpose The paper investigates whether Sub-Saharan African countries are catching up with the rest of the world in terms of online usage. Online service usage is an important component of the discourse of the ‘digital divide’ – an emblematic term for the inequality of information and communication technology (ICT) access. Design/methodology/approach Quantitative analysis of Internet- and Facebook penetration coupled with economic strength (GDP/capita), literacy and degree of rural population. Findings Our findings reveal a heterogeneous pattern with a few African countries being digital oases and close to European levels, whereas the majority of the countries are still digital deserts. We find a strong correlation between economic strength and Internet penetration. A generalist picture that Sub-Saharan is on the trajectory of closing the digital divide is an imprecise reflection of the reality. Research limitations/implications We argue that instead of measuring supply-side data, which has been the trend till now, the use of demand-side elements such as online service usage tells us more about digital inequalities between countries. Practical implications The research encourages Internet firms to open up their eyes for Sub-Saharan Africa as an investment opportunity with an untapped gap of online usage. Originality/value There is a paucity of research going into depth of online usage in Africa. The paper is a contribution to fill that gap.

Pub.: 21 Jan '16, Pinned: 04 Aug '17

The multi-dimensional digital divide: Perspectives from an e-government portal in Nigeria

Abstract: There is a widespread recognition that a digital divide exists between countries and individuals, and that understanding and addressing that divide is pivotal to the empowerment of citizens. Furthermore, although governments have often seen e-government services as one means of eroding the digital divide, prior research into the digital divide in the e-government context is limited. Hence, this research seeks to contribute to understanding of the nature of the digital divide as it affects Nigerian citizens, specifically users of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) web portal. The NIS portal is a rich context in which to study the digital divide: it is the most well-developed e-government service in Nigeria; its use is compulsory for citizens seeking to travel outside of Nigeria; and, its users reside within both Nigeria (a developing country) and in more developed countries, such as the US and the UK. Using an online survey, and snowball sampling, 351 completed questionnaires were collected and analysed using t-tests and Anova. The digital divide was represented in terms of the three dimensions: previous Internet experience, access to computing facilities, and previous e-government experience. Analysis demonstrated a multi-dimensional digital divide with demographic, social-economic, and locational factors affecting e-government users' Internet experience, their access to computing facilities and their e-government experience. Overall, this research offers insights into the complexity of the digital divide.

Pub.: 24 Feb '17, Pinned: 04 Aug '17

The Digital Divide and Other Economic Considerations for Network Neutrality

Abstract: Abstract In its 2016 Broadband Report, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recognizes that a rural/urban digital divide remains prevalent—especially with respect to broadband adoption. It also highlights several policies that the FCC has undertaken purportedly to reduce the divide, including the 2015 Open Internet Order (OIO)—in which the stated intent is to enforce “network neutrality.” However, long before the OIO, studies have raised concerns that network neutrality policies will discourage investment by internet service providers (ISPs) in broadband infrastructure, to the detriment of broadband accessibility, and may increase average consumer costs—both of which would only further exacerbate the digital divide. In this paper, we provide a holistic analysis of the effects of net neutrality on the digital divide; in doing so, we draw from recent economic research on this issue. Our goal is to present a range of economic considerations that should be taken into account when evaluating the overall impact of the OIO, with particular attention to its impact on the digital divide.AbstractIn its 2016 Broadband Report, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recognizes that a rural/urban digital divide remains prevalent—especially with respect to broadband adoption. It also highlights several policies that the FCC has undertaken purportedly to reduce the divide, including the 2015 Open Internet Order (OIO)—in which the stated intent is to enforce “network neutrality.” However, long before the OIO, studies have raised concerns that network neutrality policies will discourage investment by internet service providers (ISPs) in broadband infrastructure, to the detriment of broadband accessibility, and may increase average consumer costs—both of which would only further exacerbate the digital divide. In this paper, we provide a holistic analysis of the effects of net neutrality on the digital divide; in doing so, we draw from recent economic research on this issue. Our goal is to present a range of economic considerations that should be taken into account when evaluating the overall impact of the OIO, with particular attention to its impact on the digital divide.

Pub.: 03 Dec '16, Pinned: 03 Aug '17

'Digital by Default and the 'hard to reach: Exploring solutions to digital exclusion in remote rural areas

Abstract: In the UK, the geography of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure required for Internet connectivity is such that high speed broadband and mobile phone networks are generally less available in rural areas compared with urban areas or, in other words, as remoteness and population sparsity increase so too does the likelihood of an area having no or very poor broadband connectivity. Against a policy backdrop of UK Government efforts to bring forward network infrastructure upgrades and to improve the accessibility of broadband services in locations where there is a weak commercial investment case, this paper considers the options for the ‘final few’ in the prevailing ‘Digital by Default’ public services context. The paper outlines the Rural Public Access WiFi Services project, a study focused upon enabling Internet connectivity for commercially ‘hard to reach’ rural areas in the UK. The Rural Public Access WiFi Services concept and the experiment are introduced before findings from a pilot deployment of a broadband service to households in a remote rural area, who may be classified as ‘digitally excluded’, are presented. The paper then reflects on our field experiment and the potential of the Rural Public Access WiFi Services service model as a solution to overcoming some of the digital participation barriers manifest in the urban–rural divide. Early indications show that the Rural Public Access WiFi Services model has the potential to encourage participation in the Digital Economy and could aid the UK Government’s Digital by Default agenda, although adoption of the model is not without its challenges.

Pub.: 18 Oct '16, Pinned: 03 Aug '17