Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 2014

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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92 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2014 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Bad Broadband Equals Low Population Growth An original BroadBand Communities study shows a startling, 10-fold diference in population growth between broadband haves and have-nots. By Steven S. Ross / Broadband Communities G ood broadband is even more closely related to economic opportunity than has been realized. An exclusive BroadBand Communities analysis of census data and National Broadband Map (NBM) data for all 3,144 counties in the 50 states and District of Columbia reveals that counties in the bottom half of their state rankings for access to 25 Mbps download speeds had a population growth of only 0.27 percent from 2010 through the end of 2013. Te top half enjoyed growth of 2.79 percent – more than 10 times greater. In actual numbers, counties in the bottom half of their state rankings added just 134,390 people, and those in the top half added more than 7.2 million. Te diferences are even more stark when the top 10 percent of counties in each state is compared with the bottom 10 percent. Te counties ranked in the lowest 10 percent for broadband access lost 0.55 percent of their population on average. Te top 10 percent gained 3.18 percent. Te single top-ranked counties in each state grew even faster – 3.61 percent. Again, in actual numbers, the top county in each of the 50 states added more than 1.1 million to their populations in the aggregate – a quarter of the total population gain experienced by the top 10 percent. A recent Commerce Department study highlights the relative lack of broadband in rural areas compared with urban areas, and new census data shows that, between 2010 and 2012, for the frst time in U.S. history, most rural counties lost population. Te BroadBand Communities study confrms a strong association between these two phenomena. Te methodology used in this study overcomes many of the shortcomings of studies released by the Commerce Department. Get more details about this population study at the BroadBand Communities summit in Austin, April 14–16. Counties that lag other counties in their states in access to good broadband are actually losing population; counties with the best broadband in their states are growing quickly.

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