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What Are the Economic Effects of Municipal Broadband?

24 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2019

Sarah Oh

Technology Policy Institute

Date Written: July 26, 2019


Does municipal broadband stimulate broadband adoption or employment growth? I conduct an empirical study of American towns that have built municipal networks to answer this question. Using data from the FCC’s Form 477 and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, I track broadband deployment, adoption, and employment statistics for these towns from 2013 to 2017. A town’s decision to install a municipal network in the first place is not random, however. To deal with selection effects, I apply Coarsened Exact Matching to ordinary least squares regression to compare results from the treatment group with a weighted control group of similar towns. I also apply two-stage least squares regression with instrumental variable analysis to deal with endogeneity in the decision to build. I do not find evidence that municipal broadband yields benefits in broadband subscription rates or employment growth.

Keywords: broadband deployment, broadband adoption, municipal broadband

JEL Classification: L96

Suggested Citation:

Oh, Sarah, What Are the Economic Effects of Municipal Broadband? (July 26, 2019). Available at SSRN: or
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