Backbone topology, access, and the commercial internet, 1997-2000

Morton E. O'Kelly, Tony H. Grubesic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


As the Internet grows in popularity, telecommunications infrastructure in the United States continues to increase in capacity and geographic reach to meet market demand. Important components of this infrastructure include the commercial fiber-optic backbones used to transport digital information between locations. The spatial organization of commercial Internet backbones reflects an increasingly competitive privatized market for service provision, in which certain locations are more accessible and better connected than others. The authors have three objectives. First, they explore the current state of the telecommunications industry, paying special attention to current trends, mergers, and new company business models. Second, they use a standardized methodology to examine the topological structure of the US commercial Internet and the resulting differences in city accessibility. Third, this methodology is put to the test by an exploration of an empirical database of 41 network providers in the United States. Results suggest that significant changes in city accessibility to the commercial Internet occurred between 1997 and 2000.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-552
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Planning and Design
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Architecture
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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