Residents of federally subsidized rental housing are among the least likely Americans to have internet at home. But targeted investments can help connect large numbers of these households to affordable, high-speed internet and bring the nation closer than ever to universal broadband access. Two programs from the federal 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—the Digital Equity Act and Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program—offer states and local jurisdictions an unprecedented opportunity to address the digital divide and connect residents of affordable rental housing to the economic and social benefits of high-speed internet.
However, federally subsidized housing is complex, and policymakers and stakeholders from all levels of government need to understand the particular barriers to connectivity in these communities, including inadequate wiring in older buildings, outdated networks, low-quality or unaffordable service, and a history of disinvestment. Addressing this distinctive set of challenges will require focused, creative solutions. The resources in this collection explore opportunities and challenges related to broadband expansion in affordable housing.