Little girl on laptop. Broadband needed for low-income famiies.

The vast majority of consumers in underserved areas who recently got high-speed Internet (86%) say that the newly available service has improved their lives, according to new research about rural broadband impact from Cox Communications. Respondents were in rural areas where Cox recently deployed high-speed broadband service.

Seventy percent of respondents under 31 years of age feel encouraged to remain in their communities. Seventy-three percent of responding millennials and younger and 45% of Gen X and older reported that having high-speed internet has a positive impact. Better connectivity to family and friends was reported by 80% of respondents.

In addition, the survey found that 62% of respondents reported improvements in access to online jobs and remote work. Eighty-four percent of respondents already working remotely reported increased capabilities in doing their jobs.

Other findings from the rural broadband impact report:

  • High-speed broadband is twice as likely to improve the education of children in households making less than $50,000 per year than for families making more than that amount
  • High-speed internet improved the ability to apply for college or vocational schools for 87% of students in families making less than $50,000 per year and 66% for those making more 

In addition to other positive findings, Cox noted when announcing its survey results that a rural community leader stated, “We believe our people will have easier access to education, be healthier as they can now engage in telehealth, and have faster and easier access to apply for jobs and benefits.”

“Our survey shows that a high-speed internet connection brings optimism and economic prosperity to rural communities,” said Cox Communications President Mark Greatrex said in a prepared statement.

“By connecting these households, residents are empowered to learn, increase their earning potential and thrive.”

Cox and other cable companies have been focusing on rural areas over the last few years, sometimes winning funding for rural builds.

Two examples:

  • Late last year Cox was awarded over $13 million from the USDA ReConnect rural broadband funding program.
  • Last month, Oklahoma tentatively awarded Cox $84.7 million that came to the state through the federal ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.

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