Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) telecommunications infrastructural networks are becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States and abroad. Despite abundant anecdotal rhetoric regarding the positive impact of such advanced broadband technologies on the economic development of U.S. municipalities, there has been little systematic inquiry into this area. The central focus of this study is to conduct an empirical assessment of the economic impact of FTTH infrastructure at the community level. To comprehensively understand and carry out this investigation, the research methodology consists of four distinct stages: (1) an initial qualitative design using exploratory interviews; (2) a quantitative design using longitudinal data (i.e., condensed sample with longer time lag between implementation and measurement of dependent variables); (3) a quantitative design using cross-sectional data to compare experimental and control cities; and (4) a quantitative design using longitudinal data (i.e., expanded sample with shorter time lag between implementation and measurement of dependent variables). Paired samples t-tests analyze the data in subsequent stages of the research process, along with repeated measures analysis of variance to ensure comprehensiveness. In analyzing the expanded data set in the last stage of this study, the author finds that the impact of FTTH is sufficiently strong across the sample of communities, in the sense that substantive economic improvements can be detected, even within a period of just three years.
These results seemingly suggest potential benefits that could be realized if FTTH infrastructural networks were pursued by a community; they also offer some preliminary support for public policy decisions that offer federal funding for fiber networks.