Efficiency in broadband service provision: A spatial analysis

Tony H. Grubesic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


With the 2008 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order amending both the definition of broadband and its data collection practices, the problems associated with data integrity and ZIP code aggregations in the United States will soon be forgotten. However, between 1999 and 2007, FCC Form 477 data remain the only viable, nationwide database of broadband provision in the United States. While broadband data from 1999-2004 and 2005-2007 are not directly comparable due to a modification in collection procedure, there is an absence of objective empirical analysis for the latter time period. Interestingly, although the FCC made the 2005-2007 data publically available on the Internet, password protected files largely prevented analysts from accessing, manipulating and analyzing these data. The purpose of this paper is three-fold. First, the process utilized for liberating these data from their protected format and integrating them into a geographic information system (GIS) is outlined. Second, the spatial distribution of broadband provision in the United States for 2005-2007 is explored. A mathematical programming approach is also utilized for comparing the relative efficiencies of ZIP code areas in acquiring broadband service given their demand-side socio-economic and demographic determinants. Finally, implications for public policy, particularly those associated with developing local and regional benchmarks for broadband provision, competition and access, are addressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-131
Number of pages15
JournalTelecommunications Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010


  • Broadband
  • Competition
  • Data envelopment analysis
  • Regional development
  • Spatial analysis
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Information Systems
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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