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This portal was created through a partnership between the University of Iowa and Arizona State University, with the support of the National Science Foundation’s Broadband Community Capacity program (NSF Award #1338471).
BUILDING A RESEARCH COMMUNITY ON BROADBAND AND INTERNET USE
This portal makes publicly available innovative data on internet and broadband use at the subnational level, where many policy initiatives are taking place, and where there has been a shortage of reliable and comparable data on broadband, mobile and Internet use by individuals and organizations. Through this portal, we are making available to researchers and policymakers several new types of data, along with graphics and maps to visualize trends and comparisons.
Internet Use, 1997-2018 (county data through 2018 added)
The state, county, metro and city data posted here offer unique data over time, from 1997 to 2018. Through the use of multilevel models, estimates were created for these subnational geographies based on large-sample surveys of the U.S. Bureau of the Census – the Current Population Survey Internet Supplement (1997-2012) and the American Community Survey (2013-2014) for all geographies here. County data on this site includes the American Community Survey data from 2013-2018. This state, county, metro and city data are also available at the Broadband Use Dataverse hosted by Harvard Dataverse.
In addition to the above data, this project also supported three small grants for demonstration projects on subnational broadband use (discussed below). This included multilevel estimates of activities online for counties and metropolitan areas; content analysis of Spanish language access for city and county government websites; and scraping of social media websites for police departments in five communities.
How is this data unique?
What trends are visible, with implications for research and/or policy?
In addition to providing an important resource for scholarly research, comparisons over time and across communities can help us to learn more about broadband use and needs for public policy.
Overall, there is marked variation across geographies and communities.
The data made available here can be used to further explore reasons for these trends and the policy solutions to address these needs.
How can this data be used for research?
Among the many ways this data can be used, researchers can explore –
We hope that researchers will share how they have used the data. Let us know about your ideas, and send us links or electronic copies of publications using this data, so that we can share it on this site.
How can this data be used for policy?
Policymakers can see how their jurisdiction compares with others, and how this has changed over time. Estimates can be read like percentages, and there is no knowledge of multilevel models or advanced statistical knowledge required to use the excel spreadsheets.
Graphs on this site show trends over time.
Links to Tableau allow users to access interactive maps and other graphics, to visualize trends and comparisons.
We provide examples on this site of how the data can be visualized in bar graphs and maps. This will help users to easily explore what can be accessed on Tableau.
 See, however, estimates for 2007 and 2009 for the 50 largest cities and metropolitan areas in Mossberger, K., C.J. Tolbert and W.F. Franko, 2013, Digital Cities: The Internet and the Geography of Opportunity (Oxford University Press).
Questions on data can be directed to Caroline Tolbert, Principal Investigator, firstname.lastname@example.org