Access to and Penetration of ICT in Rural Thailand
32 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2016
Date Written: September 2008
This paper presents an econometric study of information and communication technology (ICT) in all 70,000 rural villages in Thailand, where the ICT considered consists of fixed-line telephone service, mobile telephone service, public telephones, computers, and Internet service. The results may provide information that helps policymakers decide where to put limited resources to promote ICT, and helps profit-seeking ICT companies target regions that maximize revenues. The study found that education is far more important than income in predicting the percentage of households who adopt ICT services, and that some unexpected variables such as the penetration of pickup trucks are useful predictors as well. Even in areas where fixed-line phone service is available, 70% of households with computers choose not to become Internet subscribers, although many presumably have enough money and technical knowledge. By separating availability from penetration of ICT, we learned that they can have different predictors, which means that researchers who do not separate them may get misleading results. We find no evidence showing mobile telephone service as a substitute for fixed-line telephone service. Also, public telephone service had little or no impact as a substitute for fixed-line or mobile telephone service, so phone companies need not fear that deployment of more public telephones will decrease their subscribership. Finally, there appears to be significant unmet demand for telephone service in rural Thailand where the infrastructure does not yet exist.
Keywords: ICT, Thailand, Developing country, Universal service, Penetration, Telecommunication
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