Factors influencing choice of bandwidth: A comparative study of broadband use in the Uniited States and South Korea and its impact on the new media environment
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The general objective of this dissertation is to examine the factors influencing adoption of broadband and its impacts on societies. This research is three fold. First, it analyzes and compares public policies related to communication technologies, especially relating to broadband in the U.S. and Korea. Understanding public policies provides the big picture of the history of communication technologies in the two countries. Second, the factors influencing choice of bandwidth are investigated based on a variety of theoretical backgrounds and conceptualizations including diffusion of innovation, media use, interactivity, diffusion network, opinion leadership, and interpersonal communication by comparing broadband users with dial-up users in the U.S. Third, this research compares similarities and differences in broadband use between the U.S. and Korea since broadband has been diffused at different rate based on different policies and different circumstances. The model was tested to seek predictors of choice of bandwidth. An online survey was conducted with the U.S. and Korea among college students (N = 713). Univariate and multivariate statistical procedures were performed. The results indicate that age was the only factor that influenced adoption of broadband among demographic information. Relative advantage, compatibility, opinion leadership, and interpersonal network were strong predictors of the choice of bandwidth. The relationship between adoption of high-speed Internet access and traditional media use was analyzed to investigate the impact of broadband on traditional media. The findings showed that only radio use was significantly different between broadband users and non-broadband users. Therefore, a revised model was presented based on these findings. The results comparing broadband use between the U.S. and Korea revealed that Korean broadband adopters were more likely to have a higher opinion leadership while American users were more likely to have a higher level of compatibility and innovativeness. American broadband users spent more time on watching TV, whereas Korean users more often went to movie theaters. Korean broadband users talked to their family more often than did those in the U.S. Korean broadband adopters had more people who also used a high-speed Internet on their personal network. Additionally, this research examined the relationship between instant messaging use and broadband use. American college students were heavier IM users than Korean college students. Overall, high-speed users in the U.S. were more likely to be satisfied with their current high-speed Internet access than Korean users although the average speed rate of broadband in Korea is higher than the speed in the U.S. In the conclusion, discussion and implications about public policies related to communication technology were discussed. Additionally, limitations of this research were described and future studies related to adoption of innovation were suggested.