Broadband and Economic Development: A Municipal Case Study from Florida

Review of Urban & Regional Development Studies, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 219-229, 2005

14 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2006 Last revised: 12 Sep 2010

See all articles by George S. Ford

George S. Ford

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies

Thomas Koutsky

USAID Global Development Lab

Date Written: September 9, 2010

Abstract

In this paper, we explore whether broadband investment by municipalities has an effect on economic growth. To do so, we employ an econometric model to compare economic growth in Lake County, Florida, with other similar Florida counties. In 2001, Lake County - a small county in central Florida - began generally offering private businesses and municipal institutions access to one of Florida's most extensive, municipally-owned broadband networks, with fiber optic connections to hospitals, doctor offices, private businesses, and 44 schools. Our econometric model shows that Lake County has experienced approximately 100% greater growth in economic activity - a doubling - relative to comparable Florida counties since making its municipal broadband network generally available to businesses and municipal institutions in the county. Our findings are consistent with other analyses that postulate that broadband infrastructure can be a significant contributor to economic growth. Our results suggest that efforts to restrict municipal broadband investment could deny communities an important tool in promoting economic development.

Keywords: Municipal Broadband, Economic Development, Telecommunications

JEL Classification: L94, L96, L98, L86

Suggested Citation

Ford, George S. and Koutsky, Thomas M., Broadband and Economic Development: A Municipal Case Study from Florida (September 9, 2010). Review of Urban & Regional Development Studies, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 219-229, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=925973

George S. Ford (Contact Author)

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies ( email )

5335 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
United States

Thomas M. Koutsky

USAID Global Development Lab ( email )

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

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