The wireless abyss: Deconstructing the U.S. National Broadband Map

Tony H. Grubesic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The U.S. National Broadband Map (NBM) is arguably the most complex articulation and synthesis of telecommunications data ever generated by the federal government. Drawing upon information collected by fifty U.S. states, five territories and the District of Columbia, broadband provision is tabulated at the Census block level and made available to the general public in a variety of formats (e.g., maps, tabular databases, and geographic coverages). One major policy challenge associated with deepening our understanding of wireless broadband provision in the United States is developing a methodological process for accurately rearticulating NBM wireless data collected at the block level to more meaningful economic units (e.g., Census block groups or tracts). Without this ability, policy analysis and an objective evaluation of the goals set forth in the National Broadband Plan are compromised. The purpose of this paper is to outline such a methodology, while simultaneously highlighting several consistency checks for ensuring completeness and data aggregation integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-542
Number of pages11
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012


  • Broadband
  • GIS
  • National Broadband Map
  • Policy
  • Uncertainty
  • Wireless

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law


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