Towards an adaptive socio-technical Broadband Growth and Penetration (BGP) framework : a case of SADC
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The transformative benefits of broadband on economic and social variables have led governments to set ambitious targets for its deployment. In making a case for public policy on broadband, many studies have sought to identify and measure broadband economic benefits. The everyday benefits of broadband cannot be overemphasised; in the medical fraternity remote and complex surgical operations are carried out by robots via satellites, executives are empowered to make decisions and access new opportunities through online information and the list is endless. In an increasingly integrated global economy, broadband is central in providing economic growth and competitiveness to any organisation, country or region. On a world scale SADC countries rank among some of those with lowest broadband growth and penetration. This phenomenon has its roots in the frameworks being used to promote broadband growth and adoption among other things in these member states. This research argues that traditional broadband frameworks used across the world are quite similar in their design though they may be implemented differently. The research used a few examples to illustrate this. As a point of departure, this research submits that broadband frameworks may share similar structures but these structures need to be permeated and influenced by the uniqueness of the people group among which they intend to be implemented. As a result, each framework needs to reflect a certain degree of this uniqueness both in structure and implementation. Using Socio-Technical Theory (STT) as a lens, this constructive research task aims to propose a framework for enhancing broadband growth and penetration in SADC. The research seeks to present an evolutionary and adaptive framework for broadband growth and penetration by analysing and integrating the major determinants in our reality space which are Society, Technology and their Environment. This Socio-technical environment was studied in bid to establish the relationships that exist and should exist between the mentioned determinants. The resulting framework articulated principles that should underpin and guide efforts of task teams and/or governments as they thrive to achieve broadband growth and penetration within the region. The outcome of this research is an evolutionary and adaptive broadband growth and penetration framework. The framework will also serve as a guide for future models applicable to an information society where broadband is viewed as a vehicle for globalisation and national to regional competitiveness. The outcome of this research which is a socially constructed artefact; a framework for broadband growth and penetration in SADC was tested using focus groups comprising IT experts. In the interest of smooth understanding of this study it is expedient to define key and technical terms which are frequently used in this document.