Federal Communications Commission

Free Data

March 18th, 2010 by John Horrigan - Consumer Research Director, Ombnibus Broadband Initiative.

Today, the FCC is releasing the raw data files that were the basis for “Broadband Adoption and Use in America” working paper. The Broadband Data Improvement Act directed the Commission to “conduct and make public periodic surveys of consumers” as part of the FCC’s efforts to understand who uses broadband, who does not, and, if not, why people do not subscribe. We released the results of the survey on February 23rd, and today we make available to the public the underlying data for the survey. The data (downloadable here) comes in several files:

  1. Raw data: Delivered in SPSS format, which is a popular program for statistical analysis of data. It is a format most other popular statistical programs can read.
  2. Codebook: This file explains in great detail the structure of the SPSS file, and will be of interest mainly to those wishing to do their own analysis of the data.
  3. Cross-tabulations: These files show how different categories of respondents (e.g., those in certain age cohorts, or those with different educational levels) answered survey questions.

If you’d like to see the “topline” survey results, they are already online here.

The FCC has a commitment to transparency in conducting the analysis that helps shape the National Broadband Plan. We hope interested members of the public benefit from having access to the data, and the ability to ask questions of the data that the FCC working paper did not pursue. Enjoy!

7 Responses to “Free Data”

  1. Derek Turner says:

    SPSS may be popular, but it isn't as powerful as STATA. How about in the spirit of openness you release it in a non propretary format like comma separated variable?

  2. Marvin Sirbu says:

    How about releasing the raw data for the FCC's most recent 477 report on broadband competition and penetration by census tract.

  3. Jim Tobias says:

    Thanks for releasing this information. The working paper was excellent, and is getting the wide distribution and coverage that it deserves. Understanding the reasons people have *not* adopted broadband should provide the Commission and others with sound guidance for the policy initiatives to come.

    These data files give us a chance to look into some detailed topics that couldn't have been covered in the working paper. I've already learned something from it. 39% of people with disabilities do not use a computer, even occasionally. Of these, 72% have *never* used a computer -- an astounding, and depressing, statistic. It's going to be mighty hard to "convert" some of those folks, and there are millions of them.

  4. Guest says:

    Could you release it as a .xls (Excel) file? Thanks

  5. Sharon Strover says:

    Thanks for sharing the data - I know it will be useful.

    There are conversion programs for getting SPSS data into other formats. Take a look at

  6. Ernie Braganza says:

    I agree with Derek Turner; it sure would be nice to have a non-proprietary format. For R users, here is a resource for importing SPSS formated data:

  7. Guest says:

    Although "CL1" is on the codebook, we cannot see the question "CL1" below on the "topline" survey results.

    CL1. Of all the telephone calls that you and other people ..................

    Also, there are 768 missing values for the question on the codebook. Why are they missing?


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