From universal service to universal connectivity

From universal service to universal connectivity Two features of the century-old policy goal of promoting universal telephone service in the United States have been enduring. Policymakers have focused on (1) wireline telephone (and more recently, fixed-line broadband) services and (2) households. The widespread adoption of mobile telephones compels a fresh examination of this focus. We construct a new measure of universal connectivity which accounts for consumers’ choices of communications technologies and for their geographic mobility over the course of the day. This measure, in turn, compels a conceptual and empirical investigation of the determinants of mobile telephone diffusion within families. Our estimations of intra-household demand for mobile service permit us to develop simulations that estimate the economic impact of modernizing a key element of existing universal service policy (viz., the Lifeline Program) to reflect the goal of improving individual connectivity. We find that a policy expansion from a single subsidy per household to multiple subsidies per eligible household members would increase mobile subscriptions by 2.25 million and Lifeline costs by $250 million. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Regulatory Economics Springer Journals

From universal service to universal connectivity

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Economics; Industrial Organization; Public Finance; Microeconomics
ISSN
0922-680X
eISSN
1573-0468
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11149-017-9336-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Two features of the century-old policy goal of promoting universal telephone service in the United States have been enduring. Policymakers have focused on (1) wireline telephone (and more recently, fixed-line broadband) services and (2) households. The widespread adoption of mobile telephones compels a fresh examination of this focus. We construct a new measure of universal connectivity which accounts for consumers’ choices of communications technologies and for their geographic mobility over the course of the day. This measure, in turn, compels a conceptual and empirical investigation of the determinants of mobile telephone diffusion within families. Our estimations of intra-household demand for mobile service permit us to develop simulations that estimate the economic impact of modernizing a key element of existing universal service policy (viz., the Lifeline Program) to reflect the goal of improving individual connectivity. We find that a policy expansion from a single subsidy per household to multiple subsidies per eligible household members would increase mobile subscriptions by 2.25 million and Lifeline costs by $250 million.

Journal

Journal of Regulatory EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 8, 2017

References

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