Households’ valuation of new broadband networks: the impact of the perceived benefits of and access to e-services

Dominic Thomas, Adam Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: While governments have invested in broadband infrastructure to ensure universal access, researchers argue that infrastructure alone does not guarantee internet use. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effectiveness of one such government initiative on households’ internet adoption and use. Design/methodology/approach: The authors used data from 2002 to 2014, including two choice experiment surveys and broadband access and subscription data. Findings: The results of Survey 1 show that urban households valued existing e-services more than rural households, indicating the importance of government investment in broadband access. The results of Survey 2 show that when a publicly funded new broadband network equalized access costs, rural households valued overall e-services more than urban households, highlighting the dual role of access to e-services and their perceived benefits. Importantly, these results suggest that rural households resist social change, which lowers their valuation of certain new publicly funded e-services. Research limitations/implications: These findings extend the digital divide literature by providing empirical support for the applicability of the global village vs urban leadership framework in households’ valuations of e-services. Practical implications: While the government has worked diligently to enhance access, it also needs to focus on the types of content and services and better communication with communities. Originality/value: Recent research has focused on inequities in skills and usage, not internet access. Furthermore, the authors examined the inequality in benefits of access to meaningful e-services and better communication with beneficiaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-695
Number of pages21
JournalInternet Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Choice experiments
  • Digital divide
  • E-government
  • E-services
  • Urban and rural differences
  • Value of non-market goods

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