Fresno has among nation’s lowest broadband adoption rates
November 13, 2017
• Bakersfield and Stockton also rank low
• “The digital disconnect facing many American neighborhoods is a wake-up call”
The Fresno metropolitan area ranks as one of the lowest -- 96th out of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas -- for broadband availability and adoption, according to a new study published Monday by the Brookings Institution, which describes itself as a Washington-based nonprofit public policy organization.
In 2015, almost one in four people (a total of 73.5 million) in the United States lived in low broadband subscription neighborhoods, where fewer than 40 percent of households subscribed to a high-speed internet connection, the Brookings report says.
The report also ranks Bakersfield (85th) and Stockton (57th) in the lower half of the country. Sacramento is ranked 46th. No other Valley areas were included in the Brookings study.
Digitally disconnected Americans are at risk of missing the economic benefits of a high-speed internet connection, Brookings says. “Especially concerning are the 17.7 million children under the age of 18 dwelling in these neighborhoods. Living without an in-home broadband connection is a challenge for children, as they may not be able to benefit from digital curricula or develop digital skills for the future workplace,” it says. “Similar challenges extend to schools and school districts that serve clusters of non-subscribing households.”
Less than one-fifth of Americans live in a high subscription neighborhood where at least 80 percent of residents have a broadband subscription, the report says.
Geography and income levels are the two greatest drivers of broadband subscription gaps, perpetuating the digital divide in even the most connected metro areas, according to Brookings’ research.
Availability is especially inadequate in rural America, where more than half of residents lack access to broadband, the report says. And many large metro areas also don’t enjoy widespread service, leaving many thousands of people without currently-defined broadband.
“The digital disconnect facing many American neighborhoods is a wake-up call to the extent of our challenges, but policy has enormous opportunities to help get all Americans online,” says Adie Tomer, report author and Brookings Metro fellow.