Learning processes in municipal broadband projects: An absorptive capacity perspective

Angsana A. Techatassanasoontorn, Andrea H. Tapia, Alison Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Effective knowledge management is important to the success of information technology projects. This research applies the integrated lens of the absorptive capacity theory and the social process model of information system development projects to examine the dynamic of knowledge activities concerning broadband infrastructure development in the context of municipal broadband networks. The research questions are: (1) What is the extent of the dynamic of knowledge activities involved in the development process?, (2) What are the events that trigger knowledge activities in municipal broadband development?, and (3) How does a city create and utilize new knowledge in the development process? This study examines municipal wireless projects in three cities (Chaska, MN; Hermosa Beach, CA; and Fredericton, Canada). Events that trigger knowledge activities are assignment of personnel, physical system construction, performance problems, resistance, and reassignment of organizational roles. Four factors that influence knowledge activities and project performance are the dynamic of technology development, partnership commitments, limitation of external knowledge and learning-by-doing, and political dynamics. The study has policy implications for cities that are in the process of planning and deployment. A good project planning, user expectation management, systematic performance evaluation, a careful partner selection process, and the use of service level agreements are important to project success. In addition, cities need to take into consideration that the technology is not a plug and play technology and that considerable efforts are needed to integrate the technology with other solutions to deliver broadband services as well as to configure the system according to topologies, street conditions, buildings, density of trees, among others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-595
Number of pages24
JournalTelecommunications Policy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Information Systems
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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