Abstract - The Information Society 19(4)


Universal Service Expansion: Two Perspectives

Harmeet Sawhney


It is now widely accepted that universal service will have to be redefined time and again as the technological environment evolves. Accordingly, policy makers have sought to institute a process for a periodic review of the universal service package. In order to "automate" the initiation of the review process, they have devised market indicators based trigger mechanisms to flag new technologies that should be considered for inclusion in an expanded universal service package. This paper interrogates the majoritarian assumptions behind the design of the trigger mechanisms. It shows how the pressures generated by systems to induce adoption of a new technology by citizens / consumers play as important a role as their uncoerced choices in the emergence of new consumption norms. The paper calls for balanced thinking that also considers the system perspective.

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