Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2015

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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6 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MAY/JUNE 2015 BANDWIDTH HAWK D etailed state-by-state analysis confrms and highlights the relationship between lack of 25 Mbps broadband access and lack of economic opportunities. As in previous analyses, I used my county- by-county compilation of National Broadband Map and census data for all 3,144 counties in the United States. I continue to use population change as a proxy for job growth, as population data is generally more accurate and more current than job data at the county level. Te frst analysis, published in the November-December 2014 issue of this magazine, showed a relationship, though not necessarily a causal one, between county population changes from 2010 through 2013 and access to 25 Mbps broadband. Although 25 Mbps (the broadband standard the Federal Communications Commission uses) is a somewhat arbitrary metric, the relationship held for lower broadband limits as well. Te second analysis, published in the March-April 2015 issue, compared counties in the 19 states that restricted municipalities from building their own broadband networks with counties in states that had no restrictions. It showed a causal relationship between population growth and access to 25 Mbps broadband. Although no statistical inference is 100 percent certain, this fnding had a likelihood of only one chance in about 130 of being spurious. States that restrict community broadband are, as a group, growing at a rate that exceeds the national average; however, the second analysis found that their broadband "have-not" counties were growing more slowly than average – and that the lowest-ranked 10 percent of their counties with regard to broadband access lost a full percent of their population over almost four years. STATE-BY-STATE RESULTS In this article, I show that the relationship between broadband access and population change is remarkably consistent state by state and is not due to results from a few states with unusual circumstances. Tis is somewhat surprising, considering the diferences among the restrictions on municipal broadband and the difering lengths of time since those restrictions were enacted. Te two bar charts on the next page show this most clearly. One catalogs the diference in percentage population growth between each state as a whole and the bottom 10 percent of its counties ranked by access to 25 Mbps broadband. Seven of the 10 states with the largest rural-urban gaps (and 11 of the top 16) restrict municipal broadband. Only two of the 11 states with the smallest gaps have restrictions. Overall, in 36 of the 50 states, the bottom 10 percent of counties ranked by broadband access lost population between 2010 and 2013. Comparing total state population growth with the population growth of counties in the bottom half with regard to broadband access shows a remarkably similar pattern. Te order of the list changes a bit, but seven of the 10 states with the largest rural-urban gaps (and 11 of the top 17) restrict municipal broadband. Only New Evidence on Muni Broadband BroadBand Communities' state-by-state analysis of population growth in 3,144 U.S. counties confrms our preliminary fndings. Lack of broadband causes lack of jobs! By Steven S. Ross / Broadband Communities

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