The social impact of broadband household Internet access
Broadband changes everything. Or so we are told. But does it? There is only one way to find out - follow people who move from narrowband to broadband internet access and see what changes. This paper reports exactly this kind of analysis using data from a two wave European panel study (e-Living) and the lagged endogenous regression approach to see if switching to broadband increases the time spent online, the use of online communication services, the breadth of internet activities and the amount of online spend, and whether it decreases the time spent watching TV and the level of social leisure activities. The results suggest, in the main, that switching to broadband made little difference for this group of early broadband adopters who were already heavy internet users. There was no evidence of an online spend or social leisure substitution effect although there was evidence of a reduction in time spent watching television, and an increase in email in use, time spent online and breadth of internet use. In all cases however it was the previous levels of behaviour that were the most significant and switching to broadband was, in general, one of the least strong effects.
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