Broadband: Infrastructure for the 21st Century Economy

Examining the role of broadband in connecting communities and supporting information-based economies

There is an increasing body of evidence that higher levels of broadband adoption lead to economic growth, higher incomes, and lower unemployment. As a result, communities without reliable high-speed internet report a gap in resources and opportunities compared to those with access to reliable high-speed internet. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the impact of this digital divide, as more people rely on internet access—particularly for vital functions like online education, telemedicine, and telecommuting to work. As the federal government allocates enormous new funding streams to help improve broadband access, state and local governments have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve digital equity and economic vitality in unserved and underserved regions.

In this paper, Guidehouse experts highlight the role of broadband in connecting communities and supporting information-based economies and outline how state and local governments should plan early and act strategically to access federal funding for broadband rollout and tune their efforts to address equity and digital inclusion.

 

Authored by: Shaun Fernando, Harrison Phelan, Julia Patterson and Jessica Lim 

With contributions from: Adam Winston, Kristy Throndson, Jason Mehta, Beverly Lau, Michelle Gan, Jordan Reisner, and Sid Ramachandran

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