nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2011‒11‒14
two papers chosen by
Walter Frisch
University Vienna

  1. Investment in Rural Broadband Technologies By Peter Stenberg
  2. Incentives for Municipal Planning towards Citizen-centric Public e-Government - Swedish empirics By Irene Bernhard

  1. By: Peter Stenberg
    Abstract: Internet use has grown rapidly over the last two decades and so has the digital economy’s integration into the rural economy. Connecting to the Internet via high-speed technology such as DSL lines, cable, satellite, and wireless networks increases bandwidth and makes the Internet much more useful to businesses, households, and governments. Rural communities have not been left out of the ever changing Information economy, though there has been an issue of equal access across the rural-urban milieu, but what is driving the investment of broadband Internet technologies in rural areas. We use recently collected data on broadband availability and historical economic and demographic data in our exploration of causal relationships. We use logistic regressions and the geographic levels of measurement are county and sub-county areas. Our analysis, consistent with profit-maximizing firm behavior, clearly shows the effect of population density and per capita income levels have on industry investment and indicate the challenges rural communities have in obtaining and maintaining modern Internet access.
    Date: 2011–09
  2. By: Irene Bernhard
    Abstract: This paper offers critical aspects on this ongoing development within the Swedish municipalities with the strategic use of ICT , for the purpose to create a digital government and to making public administration more citizen-oriented, efficient, and responsive to the needs of the public. It aims to discuss incentives for local planning towards citizen-centric public e-government based on lessons and critical aspects learned from case studies of the implementation of public contact center implementation within Swedish municipalities. A recent Swedish governmental action plan stresses the importance of using ICT in order to effectively develop the Swedish public administration with the aim to â€make it as simple as possible for as many as possible†leading to improved accessibility for the citizens. This has led to that more and more public contact centers have been established in Swedish municipalities. The action plan also stresses that the needs of the users, i.e. the citizens, always should be the starting-point of e-service development. However, there are groups of citizens, even in the mature information society of Sweden, who are excluded from having access to computers and the Internet and do not have the competence to use them. They have difficulties or do not feel comfortable with this way of handling public services - the digital divide dilemma. Therefore there are methodological as well as democratic challenges when identifying the needs of the complex diversity of different citizen groups who require different types of services from the municipality. The final part of the paper addresses the issue of a tentative framework for identifying the needs of the public e-services to support decision-making and service improvement for the planning of municipal e-governance aiming at sustainable planning for the local municipalities’ future e-government.
    Date: 2011–09

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