broadbandGrowing numbers of Americans are relying on Internet, and increasingly mobile broadband, connectivity to earn their livings. Broadband connectivity also offers numerous and varied opportunities for consumers to save money, and the Internet Innovation Alliance highlights the top 10 of them in a new study about broadband economic benefits.

Starting out with the Labor Department’s ¨2015 Consumer Expenditure Survey¨ IIA went online to search for discounts on essentials such as housing, apparel, gasoline and food, as well as more discretionary spending, such as the cost of leisure activities.

In its latest report IIA zooms in on online shopping savings for five of the 12 largest U.S. cities by population: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Jacksonville. Some of the resulting data required specific, city-level analysis while other was broader based.

Online savings opportunities were greatest in the entertainment category. Consumers could save significantly by ¨cutting the cord¨ on a traditional cable TV subscription and relying on an OTT streaming video/TV service, such as Netflix, IIA highlights in an infographic about the broadband economic benefits.

Broadband Economic Benefits
Overall, online shoppers could have saved an annual $11,219 – net of annual subscriptions to a mobile data and home broadband service – given, of course, they had home and mobile broadband access to begin with and shopped online. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Housing – $3,574 in savings (24%) based on annual housing cost of $15,209
  2. Automotive – $3,279 in savings (15%) based on average 2015 new car purchase price of $33,560
  3. Health Insurance – $447 savings (15%) based on annual health insurance cost of $2,977 as determined by Kaiser Family Foundation
  4. Food – $508 savings (13%) based on an annual grocery bill of $4,015; available online via coupons, apps and comparison shopping
  5. Non-prescription drugs – $60 savings (18%) based on annual spending of $338
  6. Gasoline – $43 (2%) based on annual fuel cost of $2,090 available online via mobile apps
  7. Entertainment – $3,629 savings (62%) based on annual spending of $5,850 on dining, sporting or concert tickets, leisure activities and cable service
  8. Apparel – annual savings of $828 (45%) based on annual clothing cost of $1,846
  9. Newspapers – $130 savings (54%) based on average daily subscription rate of $241
  10. Bill Pay – $41 savings (100%) based on postage for seven bills per month paid by mail as compared to paying all online

IIA co-chairman Jamal Simmons singled out next-gen 5G technology as an effective means of extending broadband access to all Americans. ¨Encouraging investment in 5G technology that will extend broadband to all Americans, from urban centers to rural areas, should be a top priority for policymakers,¨ he said in a statement.

Rural state U.S. senators launched a Senate Broadband Caucus this past July a day after they sent a letter asking FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to take action on a Universal Service (USF) broadband mobility fund.

AT&T Labs in late September introduced AirGig, a new hybrid powerline-wireless broadband technology the carrier says offers multi-gigabit data transport and ¨has tremendous potential to transform internet access globally.¨

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