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Arlington, VA — Hudson Institute released “The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband,” a report produced by Senior Fellow Hanns Kuttner and commissioned by the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS). The…
Hudson Institute Releases Report on Economic Impact of Broadband in Rural Communities

Arlington, VA — Hudson Institute released “The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband,” a report produced by Senior Fellow Hanns Kuttner and commissioned by the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS). The report examines the economic impact of rural broadband and the critical issues facing rural communities in the United States.

“The report findings are further evidence that investing in rural broadband has far-reaching effects for both urban and rural America, creating efficiencies in health care, education, agriculture, energy, and commerce, and enhancing quality of life of citizens across the country,” said FRS Executive Director Jessica Golden. “The advancement and viability of our rural American communities is not just a rural issue but a national imperative.”

“The benefits of broadband access extend far beyond those who play FarmVille,” said report author Hanns Kuttner. “Rural broadband services are necessary in an economy where the ability to complete a transaction electronically has become indispensable.”
Major findings in the report include:

Rural broadband companies have contributed $24.1 billion to the US economy in 2015, through their own operations and the follow-on impact of their operations.

Over $100 billion in e-commerce was supported by rural broadband, with the largest share drawn from the manufacturing sector.

Rural broadband services expand access for the nearly 20% of Americans living in rural communities, enabling the use of new technologies such as distance education, telemedicine, remote monitoring systems aided by live-stream video and multi-participant writing essay interactive programming.

The report presents updated findings from a 2011 Hudson Institute study that measured the economic impact of the rural telecommunications sector as of 2009. Notable trends include the decline of regulated telephone services as a share of the industry’s output, and the growth of broadband and services offered. The new report examines the FCC’s efforts to adapt its universal service commitment to rural communities based on the shifting patterns in consumer use from voice communications to high-speed internet access. Funding for the report was provided by FRS thanks to generous contributions from the Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative.

The report will be released at a launch event this morning at Hudson Institute’s headquarters, featuring report author Hanns Kuttner; Shirley Bloomfield, chief executive officer (CEO) of NTCA; Nancy White, CEO of the North Central Telephone Cooperative (Lafayette, Tenn.); and Leo Staurulakis, executive vice president of JSI Capital Advisors. A livestream video of the launch event can be viewed online.


The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Arlington, Va., that seeks to sustain and enhance quality of life in America by advancing an understanding of rural issues.  Established by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association in 1994, the vision of FRS is to harness the power of the rural communications industry to enrich lives in America. FRS supports rural telecommunications companies, communities and policymakers with educational information, products and programs to increase their community development and involvement. Visit us at

Hudson Institute is a research organization promoting American leadership and global engagement for a secure, free, and prosperous future.

Contact: Hillary Crowder Smith, 703-351-2086,

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