An Examination of the Evolution of Broadband Technologies in the UK

Deshpande, Advait (2014). An Examination of the Evolution of Broadband Technologies in the UK. PhD thesis The Open University.



The aim of this thesis is to examine the reasons due to which Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) became the most widely used technology to deliver broadband connectivity in the United Kingdom (UK). The research examines the outcome starting with events in 1960s when broadband as it is defined today did not exist. The research shows that a combination of factors involving regulatory decisions, changing market conditions, and unexpected technological breakthroughs contributed to the current day mix of broadband technologies in the last mile access in the UK.

To interpret the events that have shaped the development, deployment, and adoption of broadband technologies in the UK, the thesis draws from various theoretical ideas related to Science and Technology Studies (STS) to understand and analyse the events. In order to discover and establish the historical context, the thesis employs original, unpublished interviews along with the extensive use of archival material and secondary sources. Influenced by some of the core ideas of social constructionist studies, this research combines concepts from economic studies of technological change along with themes involving maintenance of technology, path dependence, and the role of bandwagon effect.

These research threads are combined to understand the way development, deployment, and adoption of broadband technologies took place in the UK. The research is intended to contribute to the understanding of technology in a constantly changing regulatory and socio-economic environment and how it is shaped by multiple factors. The targeted readership is researchers, analysts, and decision makers working with broadband technology, telecommunications policy, and STS. Further research is suggested in the form of studies of wireless broadband technologies and the role of regulatory policies in the development of the UK communications market.

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