Project

Broadband Access 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 access 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.
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Flag over Capitol
Article

Infrastructure Bill Includes Historic Broadband Provisions

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Article

A sweeping $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate on Aug. 10 would invest $65 billion in fast and reliable broadband infrastructure, affordability, and adoption. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also would provide hundreds of billions of dollars for roads, high-speed rail, and other projects.

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Student at computer
Fact Sheet

3 Key Components to Effective State Broadband Programs

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Fact Sheet

States throughout the country have created programs to expand broadband connectivity for their residents. And although the configuration of these programs varies, research has indicated that the most successful ones include the same core components: a state-level broadband office with full-time staff, systems to support local and regional planning and technical assistance, and well-funded competitive grant programs for internet service providers, such as telephone and cable companies, wireless internet service providers, electric cooperatives, and municipal utilities

The sun sets behind a rural farm in Adamstown, MD on September 28, 2018.
The sun sets behind a rural farm in Adamstown, MD on September 28, 2018.
Article

A Primer on Rural Broadband Deployment

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Article

More than 18 million Americans lack access to high-speed internet, many of them in rural areas where homes and businesses are spread far apart.

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map_pin
Article

State Strategies for Improving Broadband Access

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Article

States differ in how they manage broadband deployment and which agencies or offices they task with identifying challenges, charting goals, and encouraging investment. Some states have a centralized office responsible for managing or coordinating broadband efforts. In others, multiple agencies have jurisdiction over broadband. More than half of states have established dedicated funds to support deployment of high-speed internet, and many have developed goals, plans, and maps for expansion of access.

OUR WORK

State Broadband Policy Explorer
State Broadband Policy Explorer
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.