Spatial data constraints: Implications for measuring broadband

Tony H. Grubesic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The accurate determination of where broadband telecommunication services are available in the United States continues to be a significant challenge. Existing data regarding broadband provision, such as that provided by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) simply designate ZIP codes with at least one high-speed Internet subscriber. As ZIP code areas vary greatly in size and shape, the lack of geographic specificity as to exactly where broadband is available, particularly within ZIP code areas, confounds communications policymaking. Further, there are a number of additional geographic nuances concerning broadband availability that also inhibit empirical examination and policy generation, including the spatial limitations of digital subscriber line services. The purpose of this paper is to briefly review the issues concerning broadband measurement in the United States and provide an empirical analysis of several spatial data constraints that must be accounted for when interpreting and constructing public telecommunications policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-502
Number of pages13
JournalTelecommunications Policy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008


  • Availability
  • Broadband
  • DSL
  • Data constraints
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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