For the Weekend...

How much of this correlation is causal? And how much is associational? I do not think we really know, in spite of studies of the build-out of broadband in France. The U.S. is a different country. Nevertheless, I for one think that it is long past time to put universal broadband in the same bucket as basic sanitation and rural electrification—as something that is part of the citizens' share of being an American: Delaney Crampton: Why accessibility to broadband matters in reducing economic inequality in the United States: "A strong correlation between household income and in-home connectivity—a pattern that persists across both rural and economically depressed urban communities...

...An overall two-thirds of U.S. adults aged 18 and older had access to broadband internet in their homes, just 41 percent of adults with household incomes less than $20,000 had it, while 90 percent of adults with household income higher than $100,000 had access.... Segregation and concentrated poverty determine access to in-home broadband.... For people in these communities, it means a continuation of struggling to apply for and obtain jobs, fill out college applications and complete homework, and get easily connected to a variety of telehealth options.

Expanding broadband to underserved areas and to low-income individuals would help ameliorate economic inequality in the United States. In an analysis looking at the effects of providing greater broadband access in France, the evidence is clear that the adoption of high-quality broadband raised mean incomes and lowered income inequality. For every 1 percent increase in broadband penetration, mean income rose by 0.14 percent. The study also found that between 2009 and 2013, broadband adoption alone contributed toward 34 percent of income growth and 80 percent of reductions in income inequality.... 31 percent of low-income individuals used the internet to search for jobs, compared to just 18 percent of high-income individuals. Thus, when people in low-income communities had accessibility to high-quality broadband at home, incomes began to rise for these households...


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