How A Needy Family’s Future May Be Assured By Broadband

graphic showing sources of income and expenses

Income sources and expenses that make up the official poverty measure in the United States. Note the absence of broadband internet anywhere in this picture.

“Broadband is no longer a luxury that only a few people need; it is a critical service that supports . . . economic opportunity, health, education, recreation, and well-being.”

We excised the word ‘Americans’ from the above sentence, which launches a recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts. We didn’t want to discourage readers in other countries facing the same reality. The Pew report discusses an American problem. The problems discussed in the report are challenges with similar solutions in other countries.

The Pew report is focused on placing a critical service into affordable housing. This is particularly an issue for public/social/state/council housing that been neglected and needs millions of dollars to repair and refurbish it (billions in the the case of the New York City Housing Authority).

Where does the funding come from to wire old housing for broadband (a word which carries the same kind of vagueness as its substitute — high speed)? Whatever name is used, suffice to say the wiring will cost money, as will the devices needed to access the internet and the fees charged by internet providers.

Truly affordable government subsidized housing in America is meant to be an ‘up and out’ service for the poorest citizens, according to the current head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD)1. Without essential resources, it will become more and more difficult to get and keep jobs in an electronic universe, allowing individuals and families to move out of public housing.

For an in-depth exploration of hooking public housing tenants into work, as well as the health, education, recreation, and well-being opportunities, read more in Pew Charitable Trusts: Broadband Challenges and Opportunities in Affordable Rental Housing


  1. Try: Up And Out: Public Housing as Short Term Rehab vs. Destination Living