Authors

James Prieger

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-6-2012

Abstract

Broadband is becoming increasingly important to national economies and the personal lives of users. However, broadband availability and adopation are not diffusing in rural and urban areas at the same rates. This article updates the rural broadband digital divide, with special attention paid to mobility. Empirical estimations of broadband provision and usage in the US show that rural areas have fewer high-speed fixed and mobile providers but more slower-speed fixed providers than urban areas. While rural availability of mobile broadband is lower than in urban areas, it still helps fill in gaps in fixed broadband coverage in rural areas. The rural gap in fixed broadband usage remains, but the mobile broadband usage gap disappears after controlling for household demographics. The raw broadband usage gaps between rural and urban households are proportionally greater for low-income households. The potential for mobile broadband to benefit rural areas through economic development is also examined.

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