Report: Increased Wellness and Economic Return of Universal Broadband Infrastructure

By Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

he Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI) in partnership with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance Community Broadband Networks initiative present Increased Wellness and Economic Return of Universal Broadband Infrastructure: A Telehealth Case Study of Ten Southern Rural Counties. As the title suggests, the report has particular relevance for Black women living in rural broadband deserts, detailing how universal, affordable, broadband infrastructure would return $43 million per year using telehealth across 10 counties in the Black Belt of Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.

In addition to demonstrating how robust broadband infrastructure could pay for itself in short order, the report highlights how investments in broadband would open up untold access to healthcare, educational opportunities, economic development, community engagement, and other benefits along the way.

While the report has applications for the rest of the nation, the counties focused on in the study include:

  • Greene County, Alabama
  • Sumter County, Alabama
  • Hale County, Alabama
  • Perry County, Alabama
  • Baker County, Georgia
  • Dougherty County, Georgia
  • Mitchell County, Georgia
  • Worth County, Georgia
  • Sunflower County, Mississippi
  • Leflore County, Mississippi

The savings modeled in this case study can be extended to anywhere in the country. To demonstrate that, ILSR has created an online calculator for users to calculate the same benefits based on county population, hospitalization rates, employment, and the distance to the nearest hospital.

Read the full report here.