Mar 12, 2015
In this study the social and economic impacts associated with eliminating mobile not-spots area are examined using a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, including a survey incorporating a stated preference discrete choice experiment. A high-quality representative sample of responses is collected, which forms the basis for the choice modelling analysis. The resulting models quantify the value that residents and businesses in not-spot areas and local visitors and tourists to not-spot areas are willing to pay for mobile phone coverage. We find that individuals are willing to pay to reduce the distances that they have to travel to obtain mobile phone coverage, and that they are willing to pay for a high-quality and reliable signal. These benefits can then be compared to the costs of providing these services to provide an assessment of the social benefit of these investments. We did not find substantial evidence for willingness to pay for better services (3G/4G), although this may emerge as these services become more mainstream. Moreover, not-spots were found to have a negative impact on local businesses located in these areas and may impact the long-term sustainability of rural communities.