Project

Broadband Research Initiative

Broadband Research Initiative
Broadband connects communities to an increasingly digital world. It has transformed industries, changed the way people access goods and services, and become an indispensable part of modern life.

Yet despite more than two decades of public and private efforts to expand broadband access, gaps persist. More than 18 million Americans—perhaps upwards of 42 million—still lack access to a reliable high-speed internet connection. And that does not include the millions of Americans who cannot afford connections when they are available.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution for improving coverage, future efforts would benefit from data-driven policy discussions informed by rigorous, unbiased research.

The broadband initiative focuses on:

  • Promising practices. Examining what leaders at every level of government can learn from successful state and local efforts to increase connectivity.
  • Research. Conducting in-depth analyses of issues related to broadband access and expansion, including state policy and public funding models.
  • Convenings. Bringing together government, research, and industry leaders and other stakeholders for data-driven discussions about improving broadband access.
Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek
Article

The 'Minnesota Model' of Broadband Expansion

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Article

As policymakers at all levels of government turn their attention to expanding broadband access, a number of state successes could inform their efforts.

West Virginia
West Virginia
Article

West Virginia's Approach to Closing the Digital Divide

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Article

Broadband expansion is unusual in these politically polarized times: a public policy issue that enjoys bipartisan support.

Man working from home
Man working from home
Article

Local Leaders Are Expanding Broadband Access

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Article

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased attention on the crucial role that high-speed internet access plays in American life. In a time of social distancing, people need broadband to work from home, participate in online classrooms, access health care services, apply for public assistance, and perform ordinary household activities such as ordering groceries or prescriptions.

Walking down hallway
Walking down hallway
Article

Broadband Access Affects Educational Attainment

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Article

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased attention on the crucial role that high-speed internet access plays in American life. In a time of social distancing, people need broadband to work from home, access health care services, apply for public assistance, order groceries or prescriptions—and connect with classrooms.

OUR WORK

Data Visualization

State Broadband Policy Explorer

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Data Visualization

State Broadband Policy Explorer

Pew’s broadband research initiative reviewed state statutes, executive orders, and other governing directives for “broadband” and related terms (e.g., “high-speed internet”). This tool also includes information on state broadband programs gathered from state websites. All information was provided to states for review and verification.

Broadband
Broadband
Report

How States Are Expanding Broadband Access

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Report

Broadband is increasingly intertwined with the daily functions of modern life. It is transforming agriculture, supporting economic development initiatives, and is a critical piece of efforts to improve health care and modernize transportation. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that 21 million Americans still lack broadband access.