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Carbon Disclosure Project 2011

Broadband can help build stronger, healthier communities

The inequalities in broadband availability are most visible when you look at a local, state level. The differences between rural and urban communities and between the rich and the poor become more marked – highlighting the digital divide.

Lack of high-speed internet access puts people at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a job, accessing health information and keeping up with news and information.38

In both

fixed and mobile broadband, rural areas are the most underserved areas in the U.S.; 9% of rural business sites still do not have access to mobile broadband, compared to less than 1% of business sites in urban or suburban areas.39

14.9 million Americans are unemployed, following one of the worst downturns in recent memory and a housing crash not seen since the Great Depression. Moreover, unemployment is worse in many rural areas where broadband coverage is below the national average. Our analysis suggests that because of the relationship between broadband access and job creation there is the potential for 44,000 jobs to be created if broadband services were rolled out across rural U.S.

In their report ‘The Economic Impact of Stimulating Broadband Nationally’ (2008), Connected Nation analysed the impacts of broadband investment in Kentucky and then extrapolated the benefits gained to other states and concluded that with a seven percentage point increase in adoption as a nation the U.S. could expect to gain:

• $92 billion through 2.4 million jobs created or saved annually;

• $662 million saved per year in reduced healthcare costs;

• $6.4 billion per year in mileage savings from preventing unnecessary driving;

• $35.2 billion in value from 3.8 billion more hours saved per year from accessing broadband at home;

• $134 billion per year in total direct economic impact.

The appendix includes a state-by- state breakdown of these benefits. The jobs that will be created are not only in telecommunications equipment and services, but also in manufacturing and service industries (especially finance, education and healthcare).40

There is significant evidence that increased use of broadband technology is linked to economic growth and South Korea is a shining example of what can be achieved if governments put their weight behind broadband. From Harvard to Hollywood, the U.S. already plays a leading role in the world in education and entertainment. The U.S. also leads in critical areas of broadband communications from Apple to Cisco, from Google to Microsoft. Therefore it is extremely well placed to seize the commercial opportunity, decrease GHG emissions and decrease dependency on foreign sources of oil.

The second half of this report will look at how broadband enabled ICT can help change the way we live, work and play so that we decrease the environmental impact and not our quality of life.

38. Smith, A. 2010. Home Broadband 2010. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Available from Last accessed June 16th, 2011.

39. Federal Communications Commission, 2009. National Broadband Action Plan. Available from Last accessed June 16th, 2011. 40. Connected Nation, 2008. The economic impact of stimulating broadband nationally.


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