In his latest paper, TPI Senior Fellow John Horrigan examines the role access to in-home broadband connectivity plays in shaping people’s attitudes and behaviors. Horrigan conducted a survey of subscribers to Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which provides high-speed internet access to low-income households for $9.95 per month. The data suggest two interrelated effects of the program: an access effect, which increases how much users value the internet by making it easier for them to complete tasks online, and a digital skills effect, in which people gain confidence in how to use the internet. While nearly all of the survey’s respondents reported using the internet prior to having in-home coverage, 81% of those polled said a home connection improved their ability to use the internet “a lot.” Respondents acquired more computing devices, expanded the scope of their online activities, and took a more optimistic view of their future. This effect is larger amongst those who received formal digital skills training. With formal training, 78% of respondents were able to use the internet for schoolwork. 65% felt comfortable looking for medical information online, and 56% were able to apply for jobs. In each case, those without training were far more reluctant to engage in the same activities. Still, only 34% of respondents had received formal instruction. To learn more, the full paper can be found here.