A new issue brief from Pew Charitable Trusts outlines the challenges and opportunities of providing broadband in affordable rental housing. The authors interviewed experts in housing, broadband, and digital equity (including CLPHA), as well as personnel from federal and state agencies that provide funding for the development and operation of affordable housing. Pew also received responses to a set of emailed questions from three internet service providers.
The study discussed challenges to broadband deployment such as access and cost. Since internet deployment in the U.S. follows a private-sector model in which ISPs invest in new and upgraded infrastructure based on the estimated returns, those investments typically flow into wealthier neighborhoods, and areas lacking in affordable, reliable broadband often overlap with historically redlined neighborhoods.
The many benefits of broadband deployment and adoption of affordable housing are included and quantified. Federal broadband programs through recent legislation like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are covered by the brief, and it concludes with considerations for policymakers.