Broadband for a sustainable digital future

In a recent journal article, we have integrated latest approaches to assess social and technological change, which are known respectively as ‘reflexive learning’ and ‘reflexive governance’. This paper contextualises the integrated framework of reflexive interactive assessment using case studies of broadband access and use among small businesses and community organisations from the first release areas of the heavily invested high-speed broadband network known as EORN (Eastern Ontario Regional Network) in Canada.

Highlights from the paper are as follows.

•  Broadband technology assessment involves aspects of social as well as technical change.

•  This paper develops a hybrid methodology — reflexive interactive assessment — integrating program assessment and technology assessment.

•  We have used this methodology to assess a major Canadian rural broadband investment program.

•  Findings suggest that broadband Internet is an essential service for regional and rural innovation.

•  Early evidence shows that broadband Internet potentially facilitates transitions to rural resilience and sustainability, increasingly known as sustainability transitions.

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