Does Broadband Boost Local Economic Development?

Does Broadband Boost Local Economic Development?

A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California assesses whether policies designed to increase broadband availability — especially to unserved and underserved communities — contribute to local economic development. Funded by the David A. Coulter Family Foundation, the report, Does Broadband Boost Local Economic Development? (36 pages, PDF), found that between 1999 and 2006 there was a positive relationship between broadband expansion and employment growth across the country, especially in industries that rely heavily on information technology and in areas with lower population densities. At the same time, the local economic development benefits of broadband expansion appear to be mixed, with the average wage, overall employment rate, and prevalence of telecommuting and other home-based work unaffected by broadband expansion.