Broadband deployment and the bandwagon effect in the UK

Deshpande, Advait (2013). Broadband deployment and the bandwagon effect in the UK. info, 15(1) pp. 34–47.



Purpose - This paper looks at the extent to which the bandwagon effect played a part in Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) broadband adoption combined with the regulatory measures, the slowdown in the cable industry and the changes within the telecommunications industry in the United Kingdom (UK). The dynamics of broadband deployment, broadband adoption against a real-world supply-demand equation and the factors that influenced the outcome in the UK are examined in detail.

Design/methodology/approach - This paper combines historic facts and socio-economic analysis done from archival research and interview material to examine the outcome in which the less-heralded copper DSL technology outpaced cable broadband adoption. The analysis delves into the influence of the bandwagon effect and the two types of outcome associated with it i.e. network externalities and the complementary bandwagon effects.

Findings - The paper argues that the deployment of broadband technologies in the UK has not taken place solely on the merits of the technology or factors such as speed, end-user demand and costs. A combination of factors related to regulatory decisions, status of industry finances, commercial expediency, short-term technical benefits and the bandwagon effect are argued to be at work.

Originality/value - The paper is useful for historians, policy makers, regulators and communications industry analysts given its focus on broadband deployment in the UK in correlation to the bandwagon economics.

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