August 14, 2018
Understanding Rural Broadband Expansion
As the Trump Administration pursues an infrastructure bill that includes rural broadband expansion, AAF’s Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Will Rinehart digs into the data around broadband Internet. Many claim that expanding broadband access in rural areas would support these areas’ economies, but his research casts doubt on this claim.
His key findings include:
- The Federal Communication Commission’s definition of broadband has significant implications for the number of people who officially have access to broadband;
- Rural regions tend to be portrayed as farmland, but farming areas constitute the smallest portion of those without broadband access among all rural economic types; and
- The presence of broadband does little to explain the unemployment rate, median household income, the change in employment, or the rate of population change in rural regions, but broadband adoption measures are far better at explaining these trends.
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