Developing a model of broadband adoption in the household


Y. K. Dwivedi and J. Choudrie


Researchers in the IS field have widely studied the adoption and impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) at the organizational and individual level; however, studies related to household adoption and the impacts of ICT are largely overlooked. One of the first studies within the Information Systems field to examine the adoption of Personal Computers (PC) in the household was undertaken by Venkatesh and Brown (2001). Although such studies are becoming prevalent, they have not yet been extended to examine the diffusion of emerging ICTs such as broadband. The majority of the research associated with the topic of broadband is exploratory in nature, mainly focusing on the usage of the technology and provides little insight into consumer adoption or rejection determinants.

Systematic research on the adoption of broadband in households necessitates the identification of all the possible factors, which is a view founded on similar research that has been undertaken on PC adoption (Venkatesh and Brown, 2001). Identification of the factors is also necessary, as it will assist in developing a model that can subsequently be utilised to determine the adoption of broadband in households. The model will be further developed to examine issues such as behaviour and diffusion. Therefore, this paper aims to develop an initial model of broadband adoption (MBA) based on the decomposed theory of planned behaviour (Taylor and Todd, 1995), the diffusion of innovation theory (Rogers 1995) and model of adoption of technology in households (Venkatesh and Brown 2001). In the completed final paper for ETHICOMP 2004 these models will be discussed in detail.

The proposed model postulates that an individual’s intention to adopt broadband at homes is determined by four independent variables. These are (1) attitude, which describes the perception towards broadband technologies; (2) subjective norms, which describes the social influences that may affect the intention to adopt broadband; (3) perceived behavioural control that describes the beliefs about having the necessary resources and opportunities to adopt broadband in the home; and (4) Social attributes, which directly explains consumer behaviour. The first three independent variables are deemed necessary in order to determine the intention to adopt broadband, which in turn, is expected to predict the actual adoption of broadband. Comparatively, the fourth independent variable, social attribute (i.e. age, gender, occupation, income, and education) is included to determine the socio-economic characteristics of adopters and non-adopters. A brief description of the aforementioned factors is given below. More in-depth details of the factors will be offered in the final completed version of the paper.

Attitude. According to Venkatesh and Brown (2001) the different magnitude of attitudinal belief towards the adoption of PC in the household can be measured using three main constructs, namely, utilitarian outcomes, hedonic outcomes, and social outcomes. For examining broadband adoption in the household, this research will adopt hedonic outcomes, utilitarian outcomes (Venkatesh and Brown, 2001) and relative advantage (Rogers, 1995). Since broadband is not a directly observable product, therefore the social outcome construct of the model of adoption of technology in household was considered irrelevant to this study.

Subjective norms. Venkatesh and Brown (2001) have considered the social influence of family, friends, TV, and newspaper as a construct that can be used to measure subjective norms. The findings of Venkatesh and Brown (2001) suggest that social influences are significant determinants of the purchasing behaviour of PCs. Similarly, it is expected that households with broadband connections are likely to influence their relatives and friends by informing them about the benefits and convenience offered by broadband. Therefore, it is appropriate to consider social influence as a measure of subjective norm for broadband adoption in the household.

Perceived Behavioural Control. Venkatesh and Brown (2001) identified and validated five specific barriers that can inhibit the adoption of PCs in the household including, a rapid change in technology, declining costs, the high cost of PCs, ease/difficulty of use and a requisite knowledge of the use of PCs. Since the subscription cost of broadband access is stable and technology is not changing rapidly, the declining cost and rapid changes in technology were considered irrelevant factors for the adoption of broadband technologies; hence not included in this research. This study considered the factors of high costs, the ease/difficulty of PCs and Internet use, the lack of knowledge of broadband benefits, and lack of needs as barriers to the adoption of broadband.

Social Attributes. Key variables such as age, education, gender and income (Burgess, 1986) provide important information on the characteristics of the population under investigation. This theoretical claim is supported by findings obtained from a regression analysis of the US census data that examines PC adoption (Venkatesh, et al, 2000). This research indicates that important variables when considering PC adoption are, gender, race, education, and income (Venkatesh, et al, 2000). These variables were also included in other previous studies that examined the adoption of the PC (Venkatesh, et al 2000), Internet (Anderson, et al 2001) and Broadband (Anderson, et al 2002) in households. Since PCs, telephone, and Internet(both dial-up and broadband) belong to the cluster of ICT technology (Rogers, 1995) the socio-economic variables employed in previous studies, was also considered in the proposed model of broadband adoption used in this research.

The final paper for ETHICOMP 2004 will provide an initial model that can be used to examine broadband adoption in the household. The contribution of this research should then benefit several groups. For industry the contribution is that providers will be offered an argument that demonstrates how broadband diffusion should be encouraged. This is important since factors such as, high costs, lack of requisite knowledge to use a PC and the Internet and a lack of knowledge about the usage and the benefits of broadband are inhibiting the adoption; thereby, causing a significant problem known as the digital divide. Examining the topic of broadband adoption is also helpful in understanding the adoption of B-2-C electronic commerce in the context of the households and emerging e-government services.


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