The Tribal Digital Divide: Extent and Explanations
43 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2021 Last revised: 22 Jan 2022
Date Written: January 20, 2022
We document systematic differences in connection speeds, prices for basic broadband service, and home internet access between American Indian Reservations and neighboring areas. Consistent with past studies, we find large raw tribal gaps in these broadband outcomes. Regression techniques and Oster's (2019) correction reveal that traditional cost factors, similar to those used in FCC's Connect American Cost Model, fully explain the price gap but explain only a fraction of the tribal gaps in access and connection speeds. Income differences are strong predictors on internet access but do not affect the tribal gap in connectivity. We conclude with a discussion of the factors specific to Indian County that might drive the unexplained gap in access and connectivity.
Keywords: Digital divide, Broadband, Internet, Indian Country, American Indian Reservations
JEL Classification: L96, J15, O18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation