The advent of cheap and ubiquitous wireless access has introduced a number of new connectivity paradigms. This paper investigates one of them, user-provided connectivity or UPC. In contrast to traditional infrastructure-based connectivity, e.g., connectivity through the up-front build-out of expensive base-stations, UPC realizes connectivity organically as users join and expand its coverage. The low(er) deployment cost this affords is one of its main attractions. Conversely, the disadvantages of connectivity sharing and a high barrier-to-entry from low initial penetration create strong disincentives to its adoption. The paper’s contributions are in formulating and solving a simple model that captures key aspects of UPC adoption, and in articulating guidelines to make it successful. For analytical tractability, the model is arguably simplistic, but the robustness of its findings is demonstrated numerically across a wide range of more general (and more realistic) configurations
Date of this Version
connectivity, externalities, sharing
Date Posted: 17 August 2011
This document has been peer reviewed.