The Digital Divide and Automobile Dependence: Effects on Service Networks

By Gabriel Dupuy

Automobile dependence and the digital divide are presently blamed as societal evils. Starting from this observation, the article presents a discussion of the standard S-curve model of network deployment. This model harbours processes leading necessarily either to divides or to dependencies, which from a policy point of view are becoming critical issues. Reducing a divide means increasing dependence, while decreasing dependence means accepting the divide. How can this dilemma be resolved without challenging the notion of the network and its aim of providing territorial service? Public authorities must face up to a “purgatory of networks”. In order to escape, various exits emerge which mean either accepting the divide or the dependence, or abandoning the network concept, unless policies can be extended beyond the network to its encompassing system.

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