Stimulating Broadband: If Obama Builds It, Will They Log On?

  • January 21, 2009
  • By John B. Horrigan

Investment in broadband has become part of the broader discussion about President Obama's economic stimulus package. Even though the size of the stimulus and the share that might be devoted to broadband are still unspecified, it seems likely that the new Administration will take steps to encourage investment in broadband infrastructure.

Although job creation is the main topic in this debate, there are really three policy goals associated with broadband in the stimulus package: creating new jobs, creating new broadband subscribers, and improving the broadband experience for all subscribers through faster networks. The goals are obviously related. New or better broadband infrastructure might attract new subscribers or encourage existing subscribers to upgrade to faster service. New (or upgrading) subscribers place demands on communications infrastructure, which in turn may require more workers to serve them. How easy will it be to increase the pool of broadband subscribers or to encourage existing ones to upgrade their connection speeds? Two surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project help address these issues.

Read the full report Stimulating Broadband: If Obama Builds It, Will They Log On? on the Pew Research Center's Web site.