Theses Master's

Vying for Fiber: A Comparative Analysis on Local Government Decision-Making for Fiber Internet

Mirbabaee, Sahra

High speed Internet access is becoming increasingly important to people's daily lives and futures (US FCC, 2010). In an effort to provide broadband services, cities have been investing in fiber optic infrastructure which can achieve transmittal speeds at almost 100 times faster than traditional Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet (Crawford, 2009). This thesis assesses three cities that have attained fiber Internet infrastructure and operations in three radically different ways and will identify relevant themes when planning for fiber. Chattanooga, TN, Kansas City, MO and Provo, UT are cities that have expressed their understanding of the implications of high-speed Internet for their communities. Uncovering the planning processes that led to these infrastructures as well as assessing the outcomes of them are vital to the pursuit of fiber in other localities. Through an evaluation consisting of comprehensive document review, city contracts, as well as interviews with related city officials, this study found that infrastructure planning processes for fiber-optic Internet vary based on level of state regulation, degree of private sector involvement, and perceived notions of economic development. The study also found that intra-city technological upgrades may have been the initial reasoning for public fiber infrastructure ventures; however, when deciding whether to connect fiber Internet to homes, economic development was the main driver.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Meisterlin, Leah M.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 25, 2017