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Title: Mobile Internet connectivity : exploring structural bottlenecks in Tamil Nadu using active Internet periphery measurements
Author: Sigloch, Sebastian
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 0795
Awarding Body: Anglia Ruskin University
Current Institution: Anglia Ruskin University
Date of Award: 2018
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Accessible and affordable access to the Internet is crucial for socio-economic progress in developing countries and reducing Digital Divide. The disparity in mobile broadband penetration between urban and rural areas in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu can be explained by per capita income disparities. However, despite the vast body of multidisciplinary research, there are still large gaps in understanding Tamil Nadu’s upstream Internet market structure and its impact on mobile broadband affordability. Moreover, there is a lack of research analysing the Internet market structure in developing countries using Network Analysis. This dissertation explores the presence of structural connectivity bottlenecks in the upstream Internet market for three mobile operator networks in Tamil Nadu. The exploration employs Complex and Statistical Network Analysis on primary data collected via active Internet periphery measurements through the Portolan application. The results obtained indicate the existence of hierarchical upstream Internet market structures for all operator networks. Moreover, the collected evidence indicates the reliance of mobile operator’s connectivity on Tier-1 Internet Service Providers, while also revealing new Autonomous System relationships. This collected evidence highlights the crucial role that the level of hierarchical structuring of upstream Internet market structures plays in determining affordability. We show that endusers’ prices per Megabyte increase with the level of hierarchical structuring, indicating the policy relevance of assessing Complex Network metrics to understand and address the hierarchical structuring of the relevant markets. In conclusions, this work indicates the importance of studying structural bottlenecks and connectivity hubs, as our evidence shows that the upstream Internet market structure also defines the bargaining powers exerted by Internet Service Providers, resulting in reduced competition and less affordable price plans. These results should also nudge policymakers’ efforts to consider the different roles of ‘bottlenecks’ and ‘hub-like’ Internet Service Providers when aiming to reduce the Digital Divide.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available