Data deluge or data trickle? Difficulties in acquiring public data for telecommunications policy analysis

Edward Helderop, Anthony Grubesic, Tooran Alizadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


There is a paucity of granular, high-resolution broadband data in the United States, which limits the prospects of informed telecommunications policy debates. In the absence of regulation requiring telecommunication providers to accurately report service footprints, pricing, and service quality data, providers refuse to disclose this information, routinely citing competition as the primary reason for keeping network and pricing data obfuscated. In addition, many secondary datasets needed for broadband planning and policy research, such as parcel or address point data, are equally challenging to gather. These datasets are often controlled by county governments, with no overarching access policy, resulting in neighboring counties with widely divergent policies for the release of these important data. In this article we explore the challenges of open data and its impacts on telecommunication policy development. A recent project which explored the spatial provision of Google Fiber in the Kansas City metropolitan area helps to highlight these difficulties. Basic strategies for mitigating information asymmetries and the lack of data transparency for telecommunication policy analysis are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
JournalInformation Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019


  • Broadband
  • Google Fiber
  • open data
  • spatial data analysis
  • telecommunication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Cultural Studies
  • Information Systems
  • Political Science and International Relations


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