Using broadband boosts offline civic engagement in rural areas

The Daily Yonder recently posted an article on the research of Brian Whitacre and Jacob Manlove on the impact of broadband on civic engagement. What they found was that people who used broadband were more engaged in civic life. It wasn’t enough to simply have broadband available or have access at anchor tenants. People needed to use broadband to see the increase.

Here’s a chart that details the actions that increase based on Adoption (using broadband), Access (availability of broadband) and CAI (access in anchor institutions)…


I have been in many conversations with people about the social impact of technology. I’ve been at the dinner table where all of us were on our phones. I’ve been in situations where I “talked” more to a kid overseas than when she’s at home. It’s fun to see that research indicates that the impact of using broadband is beneficial to civic life.

I couldn’t resist sharing the following clip from the IT Crowd on the impact of “Friendface” in their office – again nice to see that people who are active online continue to be active offline.

This entry was posted in Government, Research by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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