N.C. Broadband Indices

Methodology

As more and more states make broadband investment a priority, it is important to develop metrics to help identify areas in dire need of investment, measure adoption of the technology and track progress over time. Pursuant to a request by the North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO), this document provides a quick overview of the factors affecting broadband infrastructure deployment as well as broadband adoption. In addition, a series of indices are presented to measure both availability and adoption in North Carolina.

Broadband-related metrics typically fall under two categories: availability and adoption. For the availability category, some indicators utilized include access to types of technology, number of providers, access to specific speed thresholds and others. In addition to these metrics, it is important to also shed light on the quality of service such as slower speeds or large differences between download and upload speeds (also known as asymmetrical service). Lastly, barriers to infrastructure deployment are also important to include such as age of housing units and housing density.

On the adoption side, a variable is available that showcases the share of homes subscribing to DSL, cable or fiber or not subscribing at all (no internet access). However, research points to other variables that affect technology adoption including but not limited to age, income, presence of children and educational attainment among others. These variables also must be included to measure adoption potential in addition to simple adoption. Important to keep in mind is that one key variable that affects adoption is missing: cost of service. This variable was not included because it is not available from secondary data sources.

The FCC also publishes data on the share of homes with at least 10 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 1 Mbps upload, or 10/1 for short. This speed threshold is much lower than the minimum 25/3 Mbps also stipulated by the FCC resulting in potentially misleading adoption levels and thus was not used.

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301 N. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27601