Economics are central to the infrastructure, uptake and use of ultra-high speed internet. Can you imagine a day without the Internet? This means no email, no video streaming, no online information searches or transactions, and certainly, no telecommuting or telehealth services. Faster, more reliable broadband connections are revolutionizing the way we work, learn, live and communicate with one another. The possibilities and the impact of fast, reliable Internet connectivity seem endless.
Developing and using state-of-the-art economic models we analyze how the Internet directly impacts the welfare of citizens in Southwestern Ontario. We investigate the economic implications of broadband through causality studies, as well as assessing the overall net value of broadband investment through cost/benefit analysis. Analysis is expected to inform partnerships and generate policy implications. We work mainly with data from Southwest Ontario, but we expect it to be applicable to other provinces and communities in Canada as well as the U.S. Also our findings may provide a useful benchmark for other international researchers studying broadband.
Our research has both long and short term agendas. In the short-term, the focus is the discovery of the causal relationship between broadband (the quality of broadband to be more precise) which depends on factors such as upload and download speeds and latency, and key economic variables such as per capita income, business size, wage levels and its growth rates. We are also interested in the quality of broadband and how it impacts the adoption rate of broadband. These studies are important to identify specific outcomes of broadband connectivity and may provide critical policy recommendations. For the long-term agenda we aim to provide comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of broadband by identifying all associated costs, benefits and calculating net present value through the incorporation of appropriate discount rates.