A Spatial Analysis of Internet Accessibility
To date, efforts attempting to explore the digital divide have focused on its the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, documenting the differences in computer use and Internet availability between different ages, races, and income groups. These research efforts do not adequately address the spatial nature of the digital divide, specifically the telecommunication infrastructure that enables Internet access. Utilizing a longitudinal database of Internet infrastructure, highlighting both fiber optic backbone points of presence (POP) established by commercial Internet service providers and the backbones themselves, an analysis examining city accessibility to the commercial Internet is performed. Results indicate that many larger metropolitan areas maintain dominant shares of telecommunication infrastructure, but several mid-sized metropolitan areas are emerging as important centers for telecommunication interconnection. In conjunction with the empirical analysis, a standardized methodology for evaluating network connectivity is outlined. Although telecommunication infrastructure is a key component to evaluating the spatial manifestations of the digital divide, Internet activity, defined by the presence of businesses or organizations utilizing information technology, is also an important dimension. By utilizing a comprehensive database of Internet domain registrations, basic analytical techniques, and a geographic information system (GIS), the spatial characteristics of Internet related activity are explored for the State of Ohio. Results indicate significant differences in Internet activity between urban and rural locales. The final components of this thesis explore residential broadband technologies and access options throughout the state of Ohio. At the regional level, an explanatory framework identifying key market characteristics indicative of demand for residential broadband services throughout the state of Ohio is presented, with results suggesting that population density, high income and high education levels are excellent indicators of demand. The second component of the broadband analysis examines the impact of local geography on broadband, digital subscriber line (xDSL) network access. Utilizing an integer programming model, the maximal covering location problem, and a geographic information system, xDSL broadband access is evaluated in Columbus, Ohio. Results indicate that many suburban areas have the potential to be left without adequate service.
School:The Ohio State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:internet accessibility spatial analysis gis networks
Date of Publication:01/01/2001