Broadband connects communities to an increasingly digital world. It has transformed industries, changed the way we 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. Nearly 21 million Americans, mostly in rural areas, still lack a reliable high-speed connection.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution for improving coverage, any effort would benefit from more research and data-driven policy discussions.

The broadband research initiative will focus on:

  • Promising practices: Identifying how states have addressed gaps in connectivity.
  • Research: Conducting research on issues related to broadband access and expansion, including the economic impacts of broadband and the collection, verification, and visualization of connectivity data.
  • Convenings: Bringing together government, research, and industry leaders and other stakeholders for data-driven discussions about improving broadband access.
Studying on bed
Studying on bed
Opinion

A Solution to the Digital Divide Starts With States

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Opinion

Although the digital divide didn’t start with COVID-19, the pandemic has put into stark relief the need to bridge this divide once and for all. The solution—providing tens of millions of Americans with high-speed, reliable broadband—might seem like a daunting task. But our research has found that Colorado and other states are leading the way in connecting communities to high-speed, reliable internet.

Walking down hallway
Walking down hallway
Article

Broadband Access Affects Educational Attainment

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Article

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased attention on the crucial role that high-speed internet access plays in American life. In a time of social distancing, people need broadband to work from home, access health care services, apply for public assistance, order groceries or prescriptions—and connect with classrooms.

Girl with tablet
Girl with tablet
Article

How Much Broadband Speed Do Americans Need?

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Article

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased attention on the crucial role that high-speed internet access plays in American life. In a time that demands social distancing, broadband connections allow people to work from home, connect with classrooms, access health care services, apply for public assistance, and perform ordinary household activities such as ordering groceries or prescriptions.

Capitol
Capitol
Issue Brief

States Tap CARES Act to Expand Broadband

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Issue Brief

Nationwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened demand for internet connectivity as work, education, and access to services have shifted online, highlighting the urgency of reaching unconnected Americans. The CARES Act, passed by Congress, provided more than $2 trillion in economic stimulus to address the pandemic.

OUR WORK

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.

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.