Americans reap $30 billion in annual broadband benefits

A new research study reveals that many American households now consider broadband Internet access a necessity. Broadband at home, the study concludes, provides over $30 billion annually in benefits to consumers in the areas of education, health care, work, news, entertainment and civic affairs.

The study also found that home broadband adoption increased more than six-fold between 2001 and 2008 - 66.6 million households used broadband in 2008, yet only 10.4 million households used broadband in 2001.

The study, titled "The Substantial Consumer benefits of Broadband connectivity for US households," was recently presented in Washington by the three economic experts who produced it:

  • Jonathan Orszag served as economic policy advisor on President Bill Clinton's national economic council.
  • Robert Willig served as the chief economist in the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division and is now a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University.
  • Mark Dutz is a special consultant with Compass Lexecon, an economic consulting firm.

Orszag explained that, "What this study does for the first time is quantify the recent increases in value that Americans place on, and derive from, their broadband connections, amounting to some $32 billion per year in consumer benefits."

As reported before on the Speed Matters blog, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan earmarked $7.2 billion for broadband development and tasked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with devising a national broadband plan.

The Dutz-Orszag-Willig study demonstrates that the benefits enjoyed today are only the beginning. The stimulus funds open our nation to a better broadband future: Smart power grids to proactively maintain and save energy consumption, enhanced communication about health status and potential treatments, and effective web 2.0 tools to better manage civic elections.

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The Substantial Consumer benefits of Broadband connectivity for US households

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