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Article
Publication date: 15 August 2008

Arno Wirzenius

The purpose of this paper is to describe how the objectives of telecommunications universal service have been achieved in Finland, largely without any formal universal

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe how the objectives of telecommunications universal service have been achieved in Finland, largely without any formal universal service regulation.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is a historical one, showing the evolution over time of service take‐up and use, as well as legislative changes. A range of people were interviewed with first‐hand knowledge of the development of Finland's telecommunications sector, and drew on a range of published data sources.

Findings

Fixed telephony is now used by a minority of households in Finland, having been superseded by mobile and broadband. The paper finds that the European framework, which Finland was required to adopt added no value to previous practices. The potential for any losses due to universal service to be financed by the state in fact has created an adverse investment incentive.

Originality/value

Since universal service has been a “non‐issue” in Finland, this is thought to be the first attempt to describe how universal service has in fact been achieved there. Besides displaying aspects of the Finnish experience that other countries could learn from, the paper raises a number of useful questions for policy makers.

Details

info, vol. 10 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6697

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 August 2008

Claire Milne and Claudio Feijoo

This paper aims to give conclusions from the papers in the special issue about “Re‐thinking universal service in the digital era”.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to give conclusions from the papers in the special issue about “Re‐thinking universal service in the digital era”.

Design/methodology/approach

A summary of the themes, trends and new concepts about universal service is compiled from the varied viewpoints introduced in the issue. The editors also appraise the mobile and broadband universal service candidates under the different perspectives in the issue, point out a number of questionable assumptions and gaps in the universal service stories, and touch on the international currents of influence in universal service policy. Finally, a succinct vision of a universal service policy for Europe is outlined.

Findings

This special issue aims to provide support to the policy process with regard to universal service in a digital context. The papers in the issue highlight developments that are shaking up the current universal service model. They consider universal service from a set of different dimensions, encompassing both demand and supply side considerations. Also a comparative outlook draws lessons from a representative set of existing regulatory models.

Originality/value

The paper provides a summary of the main avenues for the upcoming universal service policy debate.

Details

info, vol. 10 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6697

Keywords

To view the access options for this content please click here
Article
Publication date: 15 August 2008

Claudio Feijoo and Claire Milne

The purpose of this paper is to introduce to the concepts related with universal service and the papers in the special issue about “Re‐thinking universal service in the

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce to the concepts related with universal service and the papers in the special issue about “Re‐thinking universal service in the digital era”.

Design/methodology/approach

This special issue aims to provide support to the policy process with regard to universal service in a digital context. The papers in the issue highlight developments that are shaking up the current universal service model. They consider universal service from a set of different dimensions, encompassing both demand and supply side considerations. Also a comparative outlook draws lessons from a representative set of existing regulatory models.

Findings

The paper finds that the foundations and concept of universal service are experiencing a profound transformation as we enter into a new phase of information society development. A new set of policy goals and tools is the main consequence of this change.

Originality/value

The paper presents a timely account of the universal service policy debate.

Details

info, vol. 10 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6697

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 August 2008

Gerard Goggin

This paper aims to look at a key trend shaking up universal service policy around the world – the emergence of mobile and wireless technologies as a central feature of

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to look at a key trend shaking up universal service policy around the world – the emergence of mobile and wireless technologies as a central feature of telecommunications and convergent media.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the development of mobiles, and how they fit into the evolution of approaches to universal service. It then considers different facets of what mobiles represent for universal service, including the expansion of universal service, the relationship of access to universal service, spectrum management, and the user and innovation. The paper seeks to integrate these aspects into a consolidated account of what mobiles represent for universal service.

Findings

The paper finds that mobiles are providing timely access to basic telecommunications, and so we need to reconfigure the apparatus of universal service to acknowledge and build upon this. It finds also that there is a strong case for building mobility into definitions of universal service. Accordingly the paper advocates an evolution of the universal service concept to include mobility. In particular, there is a need for the role of mobile data, internet, and mobile media services to be evaluated – and thought about as part of the general policy discussions about building broadband platforms, and ensuring user access to and use of these. It suggests that there is now a rationale for explicitly giving an account of mobility in policies inspired by and relating to universal service. It recommends great adoption of new approaches to universal service, through flexible and open spectrum management, and also through policies that foster commons approaches. Finally, the paper suggests that stronger and more purposeful links be drawn between universal service and policies aimed at fostering innovation and at enabling and harnessing users (such as citizenship, cultural policies, and digital literacy).

Originality/value

The value of this paper lies in its dedicated focus on mobiles, and their implications are for rethinking universal service. To do so, the paper particularly draws upon user perspectives.

Details

info, vol. 10 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6697

Keywords

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