Social, Political and Ethical Responsibility in Broadband Adoption and Diffusion: A German Case Study

Social, Political and Ethical Responsibility in Broadband Adoption and Diffusion: A German Case Study

Axel Schulz (De Montfort University, UK), Bernd Carsten Stahl (De Montfort University, UK) and Simon Rogerson (De Montfort University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-851-2.ch015
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There is considerable interest worldwide in broadband diffusion, with research focusing on aspects such as the provision of broadband in remote areas and the socio-economic factors that determine the likelihood of adoption. This chapter identifies the policies and initiatives used to encourage broadband awareness, availability, and adoption. Using the case study of a local broadband initiative in remote and rural Germany, the chapter asks the question of who can and should be responsible for broadband provision, and how such responsibility ascriptions are realized.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Broadband: There is no clear-cut definition of “broadband.” Broadband can be used synonymous for every technology for high-speed transmission of data. Some definitions only consider speeds above 1 Mbit/s as broadband. Often the definitions also include the capacity of ‘always on’ as typical for broadband.

Action Research: A research method originally proposed by Lewin and influenced by work at the Tavistock Institute. It uses intervention into problematic social situations as a means to develop scientific knowledge.

Ethics: According to, “the term ethics is used in several different ways. It means the study of morals. It is also the name for that branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of morals and moral evaluation, e.g., what is right and wrong, virtuous or vicious, and beneficial or harmful (to others).”

Diffusion of Innovation: Everett Rogers defines diffusion as the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system.

Responsibility: Structurally responsibility is the ascription of an object to a subject with the aim of setting sanctions. The whole social construct of responsibility is meant to improve social life. Responsibility ascriptions are complex social interactions that need to consider a range of angles and dimension.

Case Study: A form of qualitative descriptive research. It refers to the collection and presentation of detailed information about a particular group or individual and the specific context. The conclusions drawn from a case study research project are only applicable and valid for this particular case and context. The emphasis of case study research projects is placed on exploration and description.

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