BROADBAND IMPACT: Connecting Communities to Jobs and Wealth

BROADBAND IMPACT: Connecting Communities to Jobs and Wealth

Posted on January 11, 2023 by Karen Stewart, The Patterson Foundation
Since The Patterson Foundation launched the Digital Access for All (DA4A) initiative in June 2020, the team has developed extensive relationships with experts and thought leaders to create pathways that advance digital access.

Around the same time, the International Economic Development Council’s Economic Development Research Partners developed a report, (Getting Connected: How Economic Developers are Expanding Broadband Access), which addresses the role of the economic development profession as leaders in expanding broadband access. According to the report, reliable broadband makes communities significantly more or less competitive in attracting and retaining businesses. From small businesses to large manufacturers, agricultural businesses, logistics, and government, internet speed and reliability are critical to efficient daily operations. The connected economy has significant impacts on where businesses locate, the creation of jobs, the ability for people to access those jobs, and increased wealth for all. The importance of the broadband impact on the economy cannot be understated, as shown by data in the report.

moneyFiscal Benefits – A joint study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Amazon found that in Virginia alone, universal broadband would equate to at least:
  • $2.24 billion increased annual sales
  • 9,415 additional jobs
  • $452 million in annual wages
glassJob Searching – Online job searching leads to better labor market outcomes. Unemployed workers in households with internet were likely to find work more quickly than those households without internet, who have more difficulty:
  • Contacting employers via email
  • Filling out online job applications
  • Searching local job openings and creating a professional resume
equityEquity – A fiber-to-home connection can raise a home’s value by 3 percent, and states and neighborhoods with higher broadband adoption rates have:
  • Lower poverty rates
  • Higher levels of education
  • Higher-income rates
rural developmentRural Development – High levels of broadband adoption in rural counties are positively related to the:
  • Number of firms
  • Total number of employees
  • Increases in household income
  • Number of non-farm proprietors

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