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The Bumpy Road to Universal Access: An Actor-Network Analysis of a U.S. Municipal Broadband Internet Initiative
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics.
2012 (English)In: The Information Society, ISSN 0197-2243, E-ISSN 1087-6537, Vol. 28, no 4, 264-283 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Universal high-speed Internet access can productively transform a nation's economy. However, many municipalities in the United States have been left behind in terms of Internet penetration. Some municipal governments have tried to address this by launching initiatives that aim at offering citywide, universal broad-band access. Unfortunately, most of these initiatives either have been discontinued or have ended in failure. Drawing on actor-network theory, we conducted a 3-year study to investigate the evolution of the Internet TV initiative in LaGrange, Georgia, in the United States. The results reveal distinct interpretations of the initiative by different actor groups (the government, the service providers, socioeconomically advantaged residents, and socioeconomically disadvantaged residents), at different stages of implementation, pointing to tensions among the various groups. These tensions reflect the structural problems embedded in the macro political, economic, and societal context. The findings offer in-sights for policymakers who intend to achieve universal broadband access.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2012. Vol. 28, no 4, 264-283 p.
Keyword [en]
actor-network theory, digital divide, digital inclusion, ICT policy, Internet TV (iTV)
National Category
Information Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-60349DOI: 10.1080/01972243.2012.689271ISI: 000308134100006OAI: diva2:563211
Available from: 2012-10-29 Created: 2012-10-09 Last updated: 2012-10-29Bibliographically approved

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