Less Broadband Bang for Your Buck in Low-Income Areas, Report Finds

People who live in low-income and rural areas of the Washington, D.C., region get less for their broadband dollar than those who live in wealthy suburbs, a new study from the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University finds.

Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the workshop analyzed more than four thousand customer speed test records and found that the average cost-per-mbps (megabit per second) in the twenty-five wealthiest ZIP codes in the D.C. area was about $10 while the average monthly broadband bill was about $55. In rural and lower-income areas, in contrast, the cost per mbps was $31 while the average monthly bill was $51.

"This excellent investigative project details how all broadband is not created equal," said Eric Newton, the Knight Foundation's vice president for journalism. "It raises an important question as the nation struggles to regain global broadband leadership: With gaping digital divides in pricing and speed, is what we have been calling 'universal broadband' really universal?"

"New Data Reveals Broadband Digital Divide in the Washington D.C. Region." John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Press Release 02/19/2011.