Places and People served by Three USDA Rural Broadband Programs

 The Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a new report analyzing the areas and populations served by three USDA rural broadband programs: 10 the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), 2) the Community Connect grant program, and 3) the ReConnect program. The study reported the populations served by all three programs were found to be more rural, less educated, poorer, and older than those in areas not served or ineligible. In 2021, 41 percent of households in nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) areas lacked wired high-speed internet service in their homes, compared to 27 percent of metropolitan (metro) households. In addition, a 2020 study published by the Federal Bank entitled Bringing Broadband to Rural, demonstrated broadband access and adoption in rural areas is linked to increased job and population growth, higher rates of new business formation and home values, and lower unemployment rates. For rural healthcare facilities, broadband assists in increasing access and quality services through creating infrastructure to send electronic files, support patient portals, and complete telehealth visits.