Dutton William H., Sharon Eisner Gillett,
Broadband Internet: The Power to Reconfigure Access
Since the dawn of the 21st century, government and industry initiatives to stimulate the diffusion of broadband links to the Internet have generated debates over the social and economic impact of this advance in technological capacity. This paper, based on a forum held at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), highlights the critical role that broadband Internet can play in reconfiguring access to people, services, information and technologies.
The long-term societal implications of reshaping access for individuals, communities, organisations, nations and regions across the world are of major significance, but are not predetermined by the technology. Instead, they will unfold over time through the complex interplay among the many actors, participating in many arena, who shape these outcomes through a wide range of social, policy and technical choices, some as simple as whether or not to go online. Many of the choices that will shape the future of broadband Internet and its societal implications are highlighted in this paper, which draws on discussions and background position papers at the OII Forum.