Press Releases

Using Reverse Auctions to Stretch Broadband Subsidy Dollars: Lessons from the Recovery Act of 2009


WASHINGTON (January 25, 2021) – The new round of stimulus funding addresses the digital divide, but how can this money most effectively improve broadband availability? TPI Senior Fellow Sarah Oh answers that question in a new paper that evaluates how the government awarded grants through the 2009 Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).

Dr. Oh compares the actual grant evaluation and selection process used by the NTIA with a simulated reverse auction and a lottery.

In her counterfactual analysis, the reverse auction was the most cost-effective approach. The outcome from the grant process was only slightly better than random selection by lottery. She recommends that “future broadband grants be distributed using market-based methods to get better returns on investment from infrastructure funds.”

To read the full paper, visit here: