Arlington, VA – The lack of broadband access for 6.3 million electric co-op households results in more than $68 billion in lost economic value, according to new research by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The new report investigates the cost of the digital divide and the growing economic advantages to America’s rural communities.
The study analyzed the value that households place on broadband access. It noted that households in parts of America with broadband access receive, on average, a benefit of $1,950 annually. Applying this value to 6.3 million electric co-op households without broadband, the study finds a total lost value of $68.2 billion to cooperative members nationwide.
Importantly, the deployment of broadband would be expected to enable additional economic benefits such as expanded jobs, education and economic growth. None of these factors were examined in the NRECA study.
“Closing the digital divide is imperative for rural communities and will help improve the economic outlook for the entire country,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “Millions of Americans are locked out of the new digital economy simply by virtue of their zip code. Electric co-ops recognize the importance of expanded broadband access and are working to be part of the solution.”
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