The Demographic and Economic Drivers of Broadband Adoption in the United States

Phoenix Center Policy Paper No. 31

23 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2008

See all articles by George S. Ford

George S. Ford

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies

Thomas Koutsky

USAID Global Development Lab

Lawrence J. Spiwak

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies

Date Written: November 1, 2007

Abstract

In this Policy Paper, we analyze the variation in broadband adoption rates among the respective United States. Significantly, we find that 91% of the variation is explained by demographic and economic conditions, such as household income, education and, most significantly, income inequality. Our research therefore indicates that policies that focus on these demand-side factors perhaps offer more "bang for the buck" in terms of increasing broadband penetration than supply-side policies, including subsidies for networks or regulation of providers. For example, programs that focus upon educational institutions in low-income communities with school age children - like ConnectKentucky's "No Child Left Offline" initiative - may boost broadband adoption rates considerably, as they leverage demand-side drivers that encourage broadband subscription (having a child in school) in a way that may overcome or mitigate the problem of income inequality. Programs that target broadband education for older and retired persons may also be helpful.

Keywords: broadband deployment, demand-side drivers, income, income inequality, Gini Coefficient

JEL Classification: K23, L51, L52, L96, O30, O31, O32, O33, O38

Suggested Citation

Ford, George S. and Koutsky, Thomas M. and Spiwak, Lawrence J., The Demographic and Economic Drivers of Broadband Adoption in the United States (November 1, 2007). Phoenix Center Policy Paper No. 31, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1093005 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1093005

George S. Ford

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies ( email )

5335 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
United States

Thomas M. Koutsky

USAID Global Development Lab ( email )

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Lawrence J. Spiwak (Contact Author)

Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies ( email )

5335 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
United States
202-274-0235 (Phone)
202-318-4909 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.phoenix-center.org

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