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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

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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

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

Article
Publication date: 30 January 2007

Patrick Xavier and Dimitri Ypsilanti

The purpose of this paper is to identify concerns developing in regard to current approaches used to define, deliver and fund universal service obligations (USOs) for

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify concerns developing in regard to current approaches used to define, deliver and fund universal service obligations (USOs) for telecommunications due to developments in competition, new technology, e.g. wireless, convergence and next generation networks (NGN), including voice over internet protocol (VoIP). To stimulate thinking about the policies required to deliver USOs in an IP‐enabled NGN environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines the nature and scope of USOs, including the concept of “functional internet access” to address questions about whether in an NGN environment: present USOs are sustainable; USOs need to change; and whether USOs should include access to broadband? The paper also examines alternative/complementary sources of funding for USOs.

Findings

With falling revenue (due to increasing competition and declining prices) occurring alongside strong demand for funds to deploy NGN, telecommunications operators are less able to provide USOs sustained by cross‐subsidisation. Universal service funds, too, may be under pressure. Also there is likely to be an uneven migration to NGN since it is likely that NGN will be deployed first in more profitable, densely populated areas and then only later (if at all) in relatively less commercially viable rural/remote areas. The paper concludes that present USOs can be maintained in an NGN environment. It concludes that since USOs is an evolving concept, there should be regular systematic reviews of whether USOs should be extended to include broadband. The paper concludes that increased funding from general taxation revenue is warranted and would link decisions concerning the nature and scope of USOs more closely with financial responsibility for such decisions.

Originality/value

The paper stimulates rethinking about whether, and if so how, arrangements relating to USOs need to change? In adopting a longer term perspective of universal services, the paper may be a valuable complement to the reviews of USOs being conducted in various countries (since short term decisions should be consistent with longer term developments).

Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2020

Gerd Berget

On a world basis, 15% of the population has a disability. Having a disability can result in a higher frequency of health-related information needs than other users might…

Abstract

On a world basis, 15% of the population has a disability. Having a disability can result in a higher frequency of health-related information needs than other users might experience. The Web represents a widely used source for health information. People with disabilities, however, often encounter barriers during online searching, such as inaccessible information, poorly designed search user interfaces and lack of compatibility with assistive technology. Consequently, many users are potentially excluded from a range of information sources. Measures are therefore needed to remove these barriers to avoid health disparities that can result from unequal access to information. Public libraries have a social responsibility to include all user groups, and should aspire to make fully accessible services. A good tool in this context is the implementation of the universal design mind-set, where the purpose is to develop services that are available to all people. This chapter discusses how universal design can be a premise for equal access to health information and potentially reduce health disparities in the context of users with disabilities. Both library services and education of librarians will be addressed.

Details

Roles and Responsibilities of Libraries in Increasing Consumer Health Literacy and Reducing Health Disparities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-341-8

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 2004

Krishna P. Jayakar

Over the past five years, the e‐rate program has been instrumental in reducing the digital divide in America's schools. However, right from its inception, a number of…

Abstract

Over the past five years, the e‐rate program has been instrumental in reducing the digital divide in America's schools. However, right from its inception, a number of controversies have surrounded the program including the right of the FCC to impose a “tax” on the telecommunications industry, the status of the Universal Service Administration Company, allegations of fraud in the allocation of funds to schools and libraries, and questions whether Internet access to schools was furthering the cause of educational equity. A number of these questions have been settled through court cases and administrative reform, but doubts about the future of the program still persist so much so that the US Congress is currently considering proposals to terminate or reform the e‐rate program. Keeping in mind these controversies and the achievements to date of the program, this paper compares a number of policy proposals that have been put forward recently. It recommends among other things that the future effectiveness of the e‐rate program may be best served by enabling a shift of funding from telecommunications access to software and content development.

Details

info, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6697

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 March 2010

John Bahtsevanoglou

The purpose of this paper is to assess the degree to which auctioning the right to provide universal service is a viable option in developed countries with high

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the degree to which auctioning the right to provide universal service is a viable option in developed countries with high teledensity and near ubiquitous fixed line and mobile networks. The paper also aims to provide signposts on the types of issues regulators need to consider and resolve when designing auctioning mechanisms for the competitive provision of universal service.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper examines the nature and scope of universal service, the approaches that have been used to identify the costs of universal service provision and the difficulties in using an auction process to allocate the right to provide universal service in countries with near ubiquitous network infrastructure. Australia is used as a case study on the difficulties of using auctions to encourage new entry in universal service areas served by a powerful incumbent. The paper also examines the types of issues regulators need to resolve when designing auction mechanisms for universal service provision.

Findings

The paper concludes that for developed countries, it is unclear whether the use of auctions for the provision of universal service will have the desired effect of ensuring a market‐based approach to service provision. This is because the risks associated with becoming an alternative universal service provider are likely to outweigh the benefits of doing so. Further, the risks faced by an alternative universal service provider are not borne by the incumbent operator thus further increasing the disincentive to bid for the right to provide universal service. The paper also concludes that the practical design of the universal service rights and obligations which will be attached to a winning bidder's license conditions is an extremely important mechanism by which some of the risks to potential universal service providers can be overcome.

Originality/value

The paper stimulates thinking about whether universal service auctions are a viable means of providing universal service in developed countries. In presenting empirical evidence of the difficulties in using auctions to introduce competition in universal service provision, the paper may provide valuable input to the regulatory proceedings associated with introducing universal service contestability arrangements that are currently being conducted in various countries.

Details

info, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6697

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 August 2008

Daeho Kim

The purpose of this paper is to explore how the scope of universal service has been extended from voice telephony to include broadband and mobile communications in Korea

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how the scope of universal service has been extended from voice telephony to include broadband and mobile communications in Korea. This paper addresses how Korea's approach to broadband and mobile service utilizes different strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is an analysis of universal service policies. It applies five criteria for reviewing whether broadband and mobile communications could be included in the scope of universal service.

Findings

This paper addresses Korea's approach to broadband and mobile service utilizes different strategies. An information society policy was applied to broadband diffusion, while a regulatory policy was applied to mobile service diffusion. Korea's universal service expansion policy shows a government and industry integration model.

Originality/value

This paper shows Korea's unique approach for universal service. It deals with how universal service has been driven forward as a part of an information society plan and information divide bridging policy in Korea. With flexible approaches, broadband and mobile services could start to be regarded as universal services.

Details

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

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 1 December 2015

Evelyn Hickey

Barriers exist on large scale assessment when students are not able to perform at potential for a variety of reasons. Accommodations are mostly available for students who…

Abstract

Barriers exist on large scale assessment when students are not able to perform at potential for a variety of reasons. Accommodations are mostly available for students who meet criteria for diagnosed disability or criteria for the identification of students who have English as a second language. However, knowing that students have diverse needs, accommodations for a few may not be providing appropriate access for all. Options for designing broader universal design for learning (UDL) on large scale assessment, through strategies that are typically restricted to special accommodations, increase access.

Details

Accessible Instructional Design
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-288-7

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 May 2011

Sue Samson

This study aims to establish a set of best practices that reflect the spirit of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and comply with the new 2010 Department of…

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to establish a set of best practices that reflect the spirit of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and comply with the new 2010 Department of Justice regulations.

Design/methodology/approach

At each of eight academic libraries in four Rocky Mountain states, the librarian most directly responsible for library services to students with disabilities was interviewed, comprehensive criteria to physical facilities, services, management practices, and investments were used, access leading to and within the library was considered, and data and observations to place each library in the framework of the diametrically opposed reactive or universal access service models were analyzed.

Findings

Self‐reporting students with disabilities were the largest minority group at three campuses and the second largest minority group at another three campuses. Five libraries based their services primarily on reaction to complaints, and three libraries incorporated most elements of universal access. No consistent approach or set of best practices to serve students with disabilities existed across the eight participating libraries.

Practical implications

The best practices identified in this research provide academic libraries the resources to meet the spirit of the ADA and comply with the new Department of Justice regulations to be implemented in 2012.

Originality/value

No other recent study documents the broad spectrum of service needs that can be proactively addressed by academic libraries for students and faculty with disabilities. This study underscores the value of universal access to information as a civil right of this user group while also improving services for all.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 39 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 11 October 2018

Rohan Samarajiva and Gayani Hurulle

Many governments wishing to provide telecommunication services to those who are unconnected have chosen the Universal Service Fund (USF) as the principal policy…

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Abstract

Purpose

Many governments wishing to provide telecommunication services to those who are unconnected have chosen the Universal Service Fund (USF) as the principal policy instrument. However, there is evidence that monies directly or indirectly collected from users of telecommunication services are lying unspent in these funds. The purpose of this paper is to propose metrics for measuring the disbursement efficacy of funds across time and across countries as an essential element of improving the performance of the universal service funds.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper proposes two metrics, the total disbursement rate (TDR) and the year-on-year disbursement rate (YDR), which can be used to assess the disbursement efficacy of universal service programs. It illustrates the value of the metrics by applying them to the USFs of India, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Findings

A move to push out funds has been observed in India in recent years. Pakistan had not reached the same momentum up to mid-2014. An improvement in Malaysia’s disbursement efficacy was observed until 2013, with nearly all of the funds collected in the previous year being disbursed. A significant proportion of the funds collected are lying unspent in the three USFs, nevertheless.

Originality/value

The proposed metrics are robust, objective and parsimonious indicators that allow comparison over time and across countries. They will enable productive, evidence-based conversations that will hold fund administrators accountable and will inform the design and implementation of more effective policy mechanisms.

Details

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

Keywords

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