Broadband gaps everywhere – but especially in Central time zone and Republican districts

The Brookings Institute recently outlined the need to improve broadband availability and adoption across the US. They note that while availability is an issue, adoption is an even greater issue and that every member of Congress represents at least some area that needs help with both.

Republican areas are in greater need of availability …

Broadband is widely available across the country, but Republican members of Congress disproportionally represent populations without physical access to high-speed internet. Overall, Republican House members serve districts where 89.4 percent of residents can physically access a wireline broadband connection. The gap equates to nearly 18.6 million people who physically cannot access broadband in their home. By comparison, Democratic House members represent districts with 97.5 percent coverage, leaving a much smaller gap of 3.5 million people.

Central time zone is in greater need…

Availability gaps are especially pronounced in the Central time zone. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) represents the only district in the country where broadband is available to less than half the population. There are five other districts where broadband is available to between 50 and 60 percent of their population, all of which are along this central spine (AL-1, MO-8, LA-5, AR-4, MS-3). While Republicans represent most of the low-availability districts, Democratic-represented districts like AZ-1, MS-2, MN-7, and MN-8 also fall into the bottom quintile of availability, each housing over 150,000 people who cannot connect to broadband in their home.

Republican areas are in greater need of adoption…

Republican legislators represent the bulk of these low-subscribing neighborhoods, which house over 51 million people. Many of the largest gaps are the same districts with limited broadband availability. Yet in others, like Rep. Thomas Rooney’s (FL-17) district in south-central Florida and Rep. Doug Collins’ (GA-9) district in north-central Georgia, broadband is widely available but subscribership is low.

Democratic legislators represent over 22 million people who live in low-subscription neighborhoods. In the districts with the biggest subscription gaps, more often than not broadband is widely available. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard’s (CA-40) district in east Los Angeles has 100 percent availability, but nearly half-a-million people live in low subscription neighborhoods. Similar subscription challenges in districts with high availability include TX-34, TX-33, and NM-1.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, Policy, Research by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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