Master thesis: Socio-economic impact of fibre-to-the-home

This thesis project will analyse the impact of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployment and the open access business model on a number of socio-economic indicators in municipalities across Sweden and Europe. The study will be performed by analysing data collected by a survey among a large number of municipalities, as well as other databases like Statistics Sweden’s, mainly by means of regression analysis.

Project background

The Internet is argued to be a revolutionary technological development that will have an impact on many dimensions of life. In some countries this awareness has matured into a political persuasion that is directly or indirectly driving the development of broadband access, and in particular of future-proof Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH). The large investments required to deploy FTTH however, combined with the pressing calls for future access networks to be open to competition, is putting in question the traditional business model of vertically integrated telecommunications operators. A large number of municipal access networks have been deployed in Sweden over the last 15 years. In this project we aim at studying these networks, and to investigate whether FTTH does indeed lead to socio-economic benefits, and whether these are positively related to the degree of openness.

RISE Acreo has run several studies employing multivariate regression analysis on data for Sweden’s 290 municipalities, at specific years (homogenous and complete data). Acreo’s results have been widely acknowledged and received media coverage. For example, an assignment from the Organisation for the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to contribute with an analysis on the development of high speed networks and the role of municipality networks, with focus on Sweden, has led to an OECD report. Another illustration is an assignment from the European Commission to write a “Guide to Broadband Investment”. The guide is aimed to support regions, municipalities and national organisations in the development of broadband interventions. The guide has been delivered and is currently being translated in all the official languages of the European Union. Nevertheless, only rough trends were possible to spot, due to the limited amount of homogenous data available. We hence have the ambition to develop more sophisticated data analysis techniques to be able to get a deeper understanding of FTTH’s socio-economic impact.

 

Project description

The project will build data-mining and statistical-analysis techniques to collect and process heterogeneous and partial data from public databases as well as data collected by RISE Acreo over the years on ICT availability and uptake and socio-economic indicators. The data will be processed by means of regression analysis, and the results will be analysed together with RISE Acreo’s researchers with both technology and econometric background. The ambition is to produce a report that can be of interest for the FTTH industry, the research community, as well as the public administration and the civil society at large.

 

Preliminary project outline:

Phase 1: Literature research:
FTTH network technology
Socio-economic impact of FTTH and ICT in general
Data-mining and data-processing

Phase 2:
Cataloguing of data currently in the RISE Acreo’s database
Survey of external data sources of potential interest
Develop an interface for the database to facilitate connection to external databases

Phase 3:
Design of data-mining algorithm
Definition of an extended regression analysis model

Phase 4:
Data collection and processing, re-iteration of phase 2 and 3 as necessary
Analysis of results

Thesis report writing

 

Required skills and background 

The successful candidate has an interest and education background in communications networks, data-bases, data mining, econometrics (multivariate regression), a curiosity about technology’s impact on society, and an ability to work independently and to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds. Good knowledge of English or Swedish (preferably both) is essential. We use Linux, Matlab, Python, MySQL so fluency in these languages and environments is of great advantage.

 

About the project

Project duration: 20 weeks full time, corresponding to 30 ECTS credits

More about the project and RISE Acreo: The project will be performed at RISE Acreo’s premises in Kista. Retribution of 18,000 SEK will be paid at project completion. RISE Acreo is one of Europe's top research institutes, providing breaking edge results within the fields of ICT technology, business and society. RISE Acreo values gender and ethnic diversity.

Please send your application to: marco.forzati [at] ri.se

With the subject: Thesis Application Socio-economic impact of fibre-to-the-home

Including: Cover letter, CV, transcript of academic record (studieintyg)

 

For more information: Marco Forzati (marco.forzati [at] ri.se); phone: +46 707 527 753.