But... 73% do use the internet as Essential Infrastructure

Broadband Opportunity Council Agencies’ Progress Report - January 2017 

Broadband Opportunity Council Agencies’ Progress Report - January 2017 

In 2015, a government report on broadband was commissioned.

Here are some of the results

“Day by day, access to broadband, and the advanced applications it facilitates, becomes more integral to the daily lives of Americans and to the mission and work of the Federal government and its Agencies. Broadband drives the provision of services across nearly all government functions and across many of the activities that are key to advancement and opportunity for all Americans. ...Today, broadband is taking its place alongside water, sewer and electricity as essential infrastructure for communities.”
— Broadband Opportunity Council Report to the President, August 2015

Broadband as Essential Infrastructure
Broadband provides numerous socio-economic benefits to American communities and citizens, including economic growth, improved educational opportunities, access to better healthcare, greater employment opportunities, and enhanced global competitiveness for American businesses.

Broadband also plays a significant role in economic development and growth. Research among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries shows that a 4 Mbps increase in household broadband speed is associated with a roughly 4 percent increase in household income. Similarly, academic research shows that businesses adopting broadband-based processes have seen increases in their employees’ labor productivity of an average 5 percent in the manufacturing sector and 10 percent in the services sector. From America’s urban centers to its rural plains, broadband helps create and build more dynamic communities by driving commerce, enriching education, enhancing healthcare, improving public safety, connecting communities, and sparking innovation.

Broadband is the essential foundation for our digital economy, which has created millions of new jobs in the United States. Digitally connected Americans are the modern workers, creative innovators, and new customers who will help sustain our nation’s global competitiveness. However, there are still a large number of Americans unable to access broadband at the speeds necessary to make full use of its benefits. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) datasets clearly demonstrate these significant gaps in access to broadband infrastructure:


  • 39 percent of rural Americans (23 million people) lack access to fixed broadband.
  • 10 percent of all Americans (34 million people) lack access to fixed broadband as currently defined by the FCC.7
  • 41 percent of Americans living on tribal lands (1.6 million people) lack access to fixed
  • broadband.8
  • Additionally, millions of U.S. households are not online. Data from NTIA’s July 2015 Computer and Internet Use Supplement to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey confirm this reality.
  • In 2015, 33 million households (27 percent of all U.S. households) did not use the Internet at home, where families can more easily share Internet access and conduct sensitive online transactions privately.
  • Significantly, 26 million households - one-fifth of all households - were entirely offline.