Skip to main content

Hudson Institute Releases Report on Economic Impact of Broadband in Rural Communities

Hudson Institute

Report examines the economic geographies impacted by rural telecommunications providers;
Critical impact of high-speed internet on the livelihood of community members

Washington, April 20 – Today, Hudson Institute released The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband, a report produced by Senior Fellow Hanns Kuttner and commissioned by the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS). The report examines the economic impact of rural broadband providers and the critical issues facing rural communities in the United States.

“The benefits of broadband access extend far beyond those who play FarmVille,” said report author Hanns Kuttner. “Rural broadband services are necessary in an economy where the ability to complete a transaction electronically has become indispensable.”

“The report findings are further evidence that investing in rural broadband has far-reaching effects for both urban and rural America, creating efficiencies in health care, education, agriculture, energy, and commerce, and enhancing quality of life of citizens across the country,” said FRS Executive Director Jessica Golden. “The advancement and viability of our rural American communities is not just a rural issue but a national imperative.”

Major findings in the report include:

  • Rural broadband companies have contributed $24.2 billion to the US economy in 2015, through their own operations and the follow-on impact of their operations.
  • Over $100 billion in e-commerce was supported by rural telecommunications, with the largest share drawn from the manufacturing sector.
  • Rural broadband services expand access for the nearly 20 percent of Americans living in rural communities, enabling the use of new technologies such as distance education, telemedicine, remote monitoring systems aided by live-stream video, and multi-participant interactive programming.

The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband presents updated findings from a 2011 Hudson Institute study that measured the economic impact of the rural telecommunications sector as of 2009. Notable trends include the decline of regulated telephone services as a share of the industry’s output, and the growth of broadband and services offered. The new report examines the FCC’s efforts to adapt its “universal service” commitment to rural communities based on the shifting patterns in consumer use from voice communications to high-speed internet access. Funding for the report was provided by FRS.

The report will be released at a launch event this morning at Hudson Institute’s headquarters, featuring report author Hanns Kuttner; Shirley Bloomfield, chief executive officer (CEO) of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association; Nancy White, CEO of the North Central Telephone Cooperative; and Leo Staurulakis, executive vice president of JSI Capital Advisors. A livestream video of the launch event can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/RBBLaunch, beginning at 9:30am EST.

The full report, The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband, can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/ImpactRuralBroadband. To arrange an interview with the report’s author, please contact Hudson Institute Press Secretary Carolyn Stewart.

* * *

Hudson Institute is a research organization promoting American leadership and global engagement for a secure, free, and prosperous future. http://www.hudson.org

The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Arlington, Va., that seeks to sustain and enhance quality of life in America by advancing an understanding of rural issues. Established by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association in 1994, the vision of FRS is to harness the power of the rural communications industry to enrich lives in America. FRS supports rural telecommunications companies, communities and policymakers with educational information, products and programs to increase their community development and involvement. Visit us at www.frs.org.