Digital Discrimination: Fiber Availability and Speeds by Race and Income
32 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2022
Date Written: September 2022
The lack of broadband in many rural and Tribal communities is widely recognized, but there are also claims of a lack of broadband availability in predominantly Minority and urban communities, sometimes labeled digital redlining or digital discrimination. Motivated by such claims, the bi-partisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 includes a specific provision to address digital discrimination and the Federal Communications Commission is currently contemplating formal rules. In this POLICY PAPER, we provide a definition of digital discrimination and describe the sort of empirical conditions and methods needed to quantify it. An empirical analysis of digital discrimination in fiber deployment and broadband speeds is performed. The results are encouraging—no systematic evidence of digital discrimination by race or income level is found.
Keywords: Broadband, Telecommunications, Regulation, FCC, Discrimination, Digital Divide, Digital Equity
JEL Classification: L5, L96
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation