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Understanding broadband under-utilization in Japan


  • Bourna, Maria
  • Mitomo, Hitoshi


Improved internet connectivity has been a consistent aim of Japanese telecommunications policy in the past decades, however, despite the high availability of high speed and ultra-high speed broadband services, actual use has yet to match network capacity. This study hopes to explore this paradox by looking at the factors that affect demand for broadband services. To achieve this, the relationship between overall broadband adoption and two basic demand factors, namely price of internet services and presence of a competitor in the form of wireless broadband, was examined over a 12-year period. The findings suggest that the lag in adoption can be attributed to both a higher demand for wireless connectivity and high broadband contract prices, while network effects may play a positive role in diffusion. Given that Japanese broadband policy has tended to focus more on the role of price as a mechanism for improving penetration, this study ultimately contributes to the discussion of policy efficiency by providing some empirical basis for the consideration of alternative demand-side incentives.

Suggested Citation

  • Bourna, Maria & Mitomo, Hitoshi, 2014. "Understanding broadband under-utilization in Japan," 20th ITS Biennial Conference, Rio de Janeiro 2014: The Net and the Internet - Emerging Markets and Policies 106887, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:itsb14:106887

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barth, Anne-Kathrin & Heimeshoff, Ulrich, 2011. "Does the growth of mobile markets cause the demise of fixed networks? Evidence from the European Union," 22nd European Regional ITS Conference, Budapest 2011: Innovative ICT Applications - Emerging Regulatory, Economic and Policy Issues 52144, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    2. Yeonbae Kim & Jeong-Dong Lee & Daeyoung Koh, 2005. "Effects of consumer preferences on the convergence of mobile telecommunications devices," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(7), pages 817-826.
    3. Takanori Ida & Shin Kinoshita & Masayuki Sato, 2008. "Conjoint analysis of demand for IP telephony: the case of Japan," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(10), pages 1279-1287.
    4. Kim, Donghun & Sugai, Philip, 2008. "Differences in consumer loyalty and willingness to pay for service attributes across digital channels: A study of the Japanese digital content market," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 480-489, August.
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    broadband adoption; Japan; mobile internet;

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