IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Understanding why universal service obligations may be unnecessary: The private development of local Internet access markets

  • Downes, Tom
  • Greenstein, Shane

This study analyzes the geographic spread of commercial Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the leading suppliers of Internet access. The geographic spread of ISPs is a key consideration in U.S. policy for universal access. We examine the Fall of 1998, a time of minimal government subsidy, when inexpensive access was synonymous with a local telephone call to an ISP. Population size and location in a metropolitan statistical area were the single most important determinants of entry, but their effects on national, regional and local firms differed, especially on the margin. The thresholds for entry were remarkably low for local firms. Universal service in less densely-populated areas was largely a function of investment decisions by ISPs with local focus. There was little trace of the early imprint of government subsidies for Internet access at major U.S. universities.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 62 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 2-26

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:62:y:2007:i:1:p:2-26
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Reiss, Peter C, 1991. "Entry and Competition in Concentrated Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 977-1009, October.
  2. Shane M. Greenstein & Mercedes M. Lizardo & Pablo T. Spiller, 1997. "The Evolution of Advanced Large Scale Information Infrastructure in the United States," NBER Working Papers 5929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Downes, Tom & Greenstein, Shane, 2002. "Universal access and local internet markets in the US," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1035-1052, September.
  4. Gourieroux Christian & Monfort Alain & Trognon A, 1981. "Pseudo maximum likelihood methods : theory," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 8129, CEPREMAP.
  5. Cameron, A Colin & Trivedi, Pravin K, 1986. "Econometric Models Based on Count Data: Comparisons and Applications of Some Estimators and Tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 29-53, January.
  6. Goldfarb, Avi, 2006. "The (teaching) role of universities in the diffusion of the Internet," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 203-225, March.
  7. Mini, Federico, 2001. "The Role of Incentives for Opening Monopoly Markets: Comparing GTE and BOC Cooperation with Local Entrants," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 379-414, September.
  8. Allan Shampine, 2001. "Determinants of the diffusion of U.S. digital telecommunications," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 249-261.
  9. Compaine, Benjamin M & Weinraub, Mitchell J, 1997. "Universal access to online services: An examination of the issue," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 15-33, February.
  10. Goolsbee, Austan & Klenow, Peter J, 2002. "Evidence on Learning and Network Externalities in the Diffusion of Home Computers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 317-43, October.
  11. Shane Greenstein, . "Commercialization of the Internet: The Interaction of Public Policy and Private Choices," IPR working papers 00-11, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  12. Augereau, Angelique & Greenstein, Shane, 2001. "The need for speed in emerging communications markets: upgrades to advanced technology at Internet Service Providers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(7), pages 1085-1102, July.
  13. Grubesic, Tony H., 2006. "A spatial taxonomy of broadband regions in the United States," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 423-448, November.
  14. Emin M. Dinlersoz, 2004. "Firm Organization and the Structure of Retail Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 207-240, 06.
  15. Strover, Sharon, 2001. "Rural internet connectivity," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 331-347, June.
  16. Thomas A. Downes & Shane M. Greenstein, 1996. "Understanding the Supply Decisions of Nonprofits: Modelling the Location of Private Schools," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(2), pages 365-390, Summer.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:62:y:2007:i:1:p:2-26. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.