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Category Archives: L96

ICT Behavior at the Periphery: Exploring the Social Effect of the Digital Divide through Interest in Video Streaming

By Erik W. Hanson and Justin C. LoTurco

We investigate the factors that influence changes in consumer behavior with regard to video streaming. We focus our analysis on the effect of bandwidth impairment to explore a potential consequence of the digital divide. To measure the change in relative popularity of video streaming services, we use Google Trends data as a proxy. We then investigate whether broadband speed improvements in rural vs. urban regions affect the proxy differently. We find that increasing the broadband speeds in rural regions appears to stimulate greater interest in video streaming than equivalent speed increases in urban regions.

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Advisors: Professor Michelle Connolly, Professor Grace Kim | JEL Codes: C33; J11; L96

Evaluation of the Impact of New Rules in FCC’s Spectrum Incentive Auction

By Elizabeth Lim, Akshaya Trivedi and Frances Mitchell

On March 29, 2016, the FCC initiated its first ever two-sided spectrum auction. The auction closed approximately one year later, having repurposed a total of 84 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum. The “Incentive Auction” included three primary components: (1) a reverse auction where broadcasters bid on the price at which they would voluntarily relinquish their current spectrum usage rights, (2) a forward ascending clock auction for flexible use wireless licenses which determined the winning bids for licenses within a given geographic region, and (3) an assignment phase, where winning bidders from the forward auction participated in single-bid, second price sealed auctions to determine the exact frequencies individual licenses would be assigned within that geographic region. The reverse auction and the forward auction together constituted a “stage.” To guarantee that sufficient MHz were cleared, the auction included a “final stage rule” which, if not met, triggered a clearing of the previous stage and the start of a new stage. This rule led to a total of four stages taking place in the Incentive Auction before the final assignment phase took place. Even at first glance, the Incentive Auction is unique among FCC spectrum auctions. Here we consider the estimated true valuation for these licenses based on market conditions. We further compare these results to more recent outcomes in previous FCC spectrum auctions for wireless services to determine if this novel auction mechanism
impacted auction outcomes.

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Advisor: Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: L5, O3, K2, D44, L96

Regulatory Uncertainty: The Impact of the 2015 Open Internet Order on Broadband Infrastructure Investment

By Dane Bourcy Burkholder and Chin Jie Lim

This paper analyzes the impact of the United States Federal Communication’s (FCC) March 2015 Open Internet Order (OIO) on broadband infrastructure investment outcomes such as changes in speed of services, market entry. We find that higher broadband investment levels deter potential entrants and may weed out competition amongst incumbent ISPs from December 2014 to December 2016. The 2015 OIO appears to have negatively impacted the probability of an ISP entering a census block for the first time by 7.17% during any six-month time periods from June 2015 to December 2016 compared to the time period from June 2010 to December 2014.

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Advisor: Dr. Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: D21, D25, D42, L20, L50, L96

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Director of the Honors Program
Michelle P. Connolly
michelle.connolly@duke.edu