ERIC Number: ED417752
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Universal Service in the Digital Age: The Commercialization and Geography of U.S. Internet Access. Research Brief No. 5.
Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington, DC.
In 1997, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) supported a project on the geographic spread of the commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP) market. This Research Brief describes some of the principle findings of a report (by Professor Shane Greenstein of the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University) on the project. The ISP market is the leading supplier of Internet access in the United States. A critical issue for policymakers is whether commercial ISPs will naturally provide wide geographic scope of their own accord, in pursuit of profitability. There are two predominant business models of commercial service providers: one that depends on firms structured to provide a national service, and one that depends on local firms providing local services. The commercial ISP industry will provide geographic scope not as an end in itself but as part of a general strategy to target a particular type of customer. ISPs are assigned to five categories in terms of strategy/structure: urban/national; urban/local; rural/local; rural/national; and regional firms. The survival of local and national ISPs has important implications for the geographic scope of the industry; expansion of the Internet by ISPs is driven by pursuit of commercial opportunities. Structural and strategic differences in the ISP industry and within markets should be central issues in policy discussions of universal access to advanced communications and computing technology. Two United States maps show the distribution of ISPs in March 1997, and urban counties with and without ISPs for the same month and year. (AEF)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington, DC.