This paper looks at the ways in which broadband networks can support sustainability, focusing on the actions of individual consumers in Australia. It centres on the arguments that broadband can be used to substitute physical products with digital ones, and to substitute physical activities (like travel) with digital ones (like videoconferencing and telework). Data on current broadband availability, uptake and usage in Australia are presented. The idea that broadband technologies are currently taken up in ways that encourage sustainable action is challenged, noting that average users are not yet sufficiently interested in, or comfortable with broadband technologies to act in ways that enable sustainability. Recognising that broadband networks do have the potential to encourage sustainability at the household level, the paper identifies current constraints and offers some suggestions on mitigating them.
Middleton, C. (2009). Can broadband support environmental sustainability? An exploration of claims at the household level. Telecommunications Journal of Australia, 59(1), 10-1.