Mapping and Measuring the Information Society: A Social Science Perspective on the Opportunities, Problems and Prospects of Broadband Internet Data in the United States
The Information Society, 35:2, 57-68, DOI: 10.1080/01972243.2019.1574526
23 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2019 Last revised: 25 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 25, 2019
There are concerns across government, industry, and academia over the adequacy of data about broadband Internet connections. Due to the uneven availability and adoption of broadband, these inadequacies are important to consider because government policy and regulation, industry and business strategies, and scholarly research can be impacted by inaccurate or distorted data. Provided that conversations about the problems and prospects of mapping and measuring the Internet feed into continuing discussions of policy initiatives to improve these data, this article sets out to critically review publicly available data, identify important limitations of these data, and profile research that have used these data successfully. In this review, the dynamic nature of broadband data will be discussed and the tradeoffs of pursuing further investments to create better databases evaluated. This evaluation suggests a more fruitful research path would be to recognize and work around existing data drawbacks, using the studies profiled in this paper, to explore a multitude of topics related to broadband availability, adoption and use.
Keywords: Broadband, Adoption, Internet Use, Form 477, Digital Divide
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