Journal of Information Policy

Challenges in Measuring the Internet for the Public Interest

The goal of this article is to offer framing for conversations about the role of measurement in informing public policy about the Internet. Researchers reviewed different stakeholders’ approaches to measurements and associated challenges, including the activities of US government agencies. Overall, researchers found that advances in measurement in the public interest will have to address the following challenges: objectivity of measurements and associated inferences; legitimate business interests in secrecy; respect for privacy, the role of the research community, and sustainability.

Effects of Market Structure on Broadband Quality in Local US Residential Service Markets

Does the entry and exit of competitors to/from broadband services markets have large effects on the quality of broadband plans offered to consumers? Answers to this question inform the design of subsidies to improve broadband in underserved areas and antitrust policy. Researchers found strong evidence that market structure (competition) is very important in explaining the evolution of maximum available speeds available from legacy technology Internet service providers (ISPs) serving US urban census blocks over 2014–2018.

Remote and Indigenous Broadband: A Comparison of Canadian and US Initiatives and Indigenous Engagement

This article compares funding and other broadband policies for rural and Indigenous regions in Canada and in the United States, concluding with lessons from Canadian and US policy and regulatory experiences that could be relevant for broadband policy development in other countries with rural and Indigenous regions. There are many similarities in regulations and policies in the US and Canada concerning Indigenous and rural broadband. Both have several government funding programs to upgrade or extend rural broadband, including to Indigenous/Tribal communities.

How COVID-19 Impacted U.S. Residential Internet Perceptions

This study analyzes how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered individual perceptions of Internet service providers (ISPs) and Internet importance, reliability, and status as an essential public utility (EPU). The authors found that lower-income, younger, women and racial-ethnic minority participants had lower ISP and Internet reliability perceptions. The pandemic increased the perception of the Internet as an EPU by 15% and access to in-home Information and Communication Technology was significantly related to perceptions of Internet importance and reliability.

Lessons from Internet Use and Performance During Covid-19

When COVID-19 hit, many people began working, going to school, and living much of their lives from home. The Internet was a gateway to the world. This article uses data from Internet speed tests, consumer complaints, search engine optimization tools, and logs of Internet use from public libraries to understand the effects of the pandemic on Internet use and performance. Despite reports that the Internet handled the surge in traffic well, we find that complaints about Internet speed nearly tripled, and performance was degraded.