Masters Theses


Ankit Agarwal

Keywords and Phrases

Agent-based model; Broadband Adoption; Decision-making; Policy Experiment; Rural Internet; Theory of planned behavior


"In the last two decades, demand for broadband internet has far outpaced its availability. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2020 Broadband Deployment report suggests that at least 22 million Americans living in rural areas lack access to broadband internet. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting normal life, there is an overwhelming need to enable unserved and underserved communities to adapt to the “new normal”. To address this challenge, federal and state agencies are funding internet service providers (ISPs) to deploy infrastructure in rural communities. However, policymakers and ISPs need open-source tools to predict take-rates of broadband service and formulate effective strategies to increase the adoption of high-speed internet. We propose using an agent-based model grounded in “The Theory of Planned Behavior” -- a long-established behavioral theory that explains the consumer’s decision-making process. The model simulates residential broadband adoption by capturing the interaction of a broadband service’s attributes with consumer preferences. We demonstrate the model’s performance, present a case study of an unserved area, and perform a sensitivity analysis. The major findings support the appropriateness of using theoretically based agent-based models to predict take-rates of broadband service. We also find that the take-rates are highly influenced by presence of existing internet users in the area as well as affordable or subsidized prices. In the future, this model can be extended to study the impact of online education, telecommuting, telemedicine, and precision agriculture on a rural economy. This type of simulation can guide evidence-based decision-making for infrastructure investment based on demand as well as influence the design of market subsidies that aim to reduce the digital divide"--Abstract, page iii.


Canfield, Casey I.

Committee Member(s)

Dagli, Cihan H., 1949-
Cen, Nan


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering Management


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2021


viii, 52 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographic references (pages 46-51).


© 2021 Ankit Agarwal, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 11818

Electronic OCLC #