The social surplus of broadband initiatives in compulsory education

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Authors
Parsons, David
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
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Grantor
Date
2016
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Type
Journal Article
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
broadband
education
return on investment (ROI)
social surplus
Mind Lab (Unitec)
Citation
Parsons, D. (2016). The social surplus of broadband initiatives in compulsory education. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 20, pp.1-19. DOI: 10.3127/ajis.v20i0.1188
Abstract
In 2010, the New Zealand government embarked upon an ambitious programme of broadband infrastructure investment, a process that will continue until at least 2019. Part of this investment is specifically targeted at compulsory education, with initiatives that include bringing fibre connections to the school gate, supporting on-site network upgrades (including wireless) and providing teaching, learning and support services delivered through these networks. Such investments are not made without some projections of the likely rate of return, but calculating return on investment (ROI) in educational broadband is complex, as it encompasses a range of factors. This article reports on an interview-based study engaging a range of stakeholders in educational broadband provision. The study utilises a research model that considers the various elements of social surplus, namely ; producer surplus (savings), producer surplus (profit) and consumer surplus (perceived value over and above cost), to explore the elements of social surplus that have been used to define educational broadband ROI calculations and justify the scale of investment. The results indicate that all three components of social surplus are relevant, though the concept of profit can only be seen in the broader context of long term contributions to the economy. A note of caution is that projections of ROI based only on positive returns fail to acknowledge the potential for some innovations to actually increase costs. Further, purely quantitative models do not properly take into account qualitative components of consumer surplus.
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Link to ePress publication
DOI
DOI: 10.3127/ajis.v20i0.1188
Copyright holder
Australasian Journal of Information Systems
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