twenty years of bandwidth prices and demand

Some public data on prices and demand for U.S. interstate bandwidth in use from 1990 to 2009 are now conveniently available on the web.  The source data, which are also freely available, are interstate access price-cap tariff filings made publicly at the FCC.  Derived datasets compile demand and prices for trunking and special access interstate services from rate detail files.  I’m making these data available for broad participation in exploratory data analysis, data categorization, construction and evaluation of price indices, and for informed public deliberation about bandwidth demand and pricing.

These data were the basis for a paper I published in Telecommunications Policy in 2001, and a presentation I gave at a Brookings Workshop on Communications Output and Productivity, also in 2001.  While the FCC source data are the same, I have revised slightly my categorizations of them.  That affects some of the statistics calculated in my prior work.  More importantly, now anyone can study in detail my categorization, make a better categorization for analyzing specific issues, and calculate new statistics.

Even more exciting, now everyone can contribute to organizing, categorizing, and analyzing the data for 2001 to 2009.  The number of rate elements and service types has increased greatly through the years.  For example, the Bell Atlantic service area had about 1000 rate elements in 1992, about 7,000 in 2001, and about 44,000 in 2009.  The much larger number of elements makes organizing and categorizing the data more difficult. But by networking all the brain power of persons on the Internet, informative analysis of these data might be possible. I hope others will construct from these data interesting bandwidth price indices covering from 1990 to 2009.

Open data platforms contribute to transparency and openness in government and can help to spur rapid innovation.  Making public data on bandwidth prices and demand readily available in a form relatively easy to use is a small contribution I’m making to the ongoing creation of open data platforms.  Please contribute to more participatory regulatory policy analysis and to relevant public knowledge.

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