Project

Broadband Access Initiative

Broadband connects communities to an increasingly digital world. It has transformed industries, changed the way people access goods and services, and become an indispensable part of modern life.

Yet despite more than two decades of public and private efforts to expand broadband access, gaps persist. More than 18 million Americans—perhaps upwards of 42 million—still lack access to a reliable high-speed internet connection. And that does not include the millions of Americans who cannot afford connections when they are available.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution for improving coverage, future efforts would benefit from data-driven policy discussions informed by rigorous, unbiased research.

The broadband access initiative focuses on:

  • Promising practices. Examining what leaders at every level of government can learn from successful state and local efforts to increase connectivity.
  • Research. Conducting in-depth analyses of issues related to broadband access and expansion, including state policy and public funding models.
  • Convenings. Bringing together government, research, and industry leaders and other stakeholders for data-driven discussions about improving broadband access.
Person at computer
Person at computer
Opinion

Three Steps to Universal Broadband Access

Quick View
Opinion

Policymakers did not suddenly wake up during the COVID-19 pandemic and discover that millions of Americans lack access to an affordable, reliable high-speed broadband connection; they have heard that from community leaders, consumers and companies for years.

Quick View
Broadband construction
Broadband construction
Article

Illinois, Benton Institute Work to Close Digital Divide

Quick View
Article

Expanding broadband access is a complex task, and often state officials benefit from the counsel of experts and community leaders in order to effectively implement it.

Working from home
Working from home
Article

Virginia Aims for Universal Broadband Access by 2028

Quick View
Article

Virginia Aims for Universal Broadband Access by 2028

Though expanding access to high-speed internet is often seen as a federal or local issue, research has indicated that progress toward closing the broadband gap is being made on the state level as well.

OUR WORK

Data Visualization

State Broadband Policy Explorer

Quick View
Data Visualization

State Broadband Policy Explorer

Pew’s broadband research initiative reviewed state statutes, executive orders, and other governing directives for “broadband” and related terms (e.g., “high-speed internet”). This tool also includes information on state broadband programs gathered from state websites. All information was provided to states for review and verification.

Broadband
Broadband
Report

How States Are Expanding Broadband Access

Quick View
Report

Broadband is increasingly intertwined with the daily functions of modern life. It is transforming agriculture, supporting economic development initiatives, and is a critical piece of efforts to improve health care and modernize transportation. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that 21 million Americans still lack broadband access.