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Rural Broadband Barriers Revealed at Annual WSSA Conference

Scholars are taking home a better understanding of the Nevada and Texas broadband landscape thanks to an important conference last week in Houston.

 src= Texas researchers Chris McGovern and Elizabeth Riesser were on hand at the 54th Annual Conference of the Western Social Science Association (WSSA) to shed light on the reasons why people in rural areas do or do not use broadband across the states.

Presenting from their paper, “Choosing to Connect: Broadband Adoption and Barriers in Rural Texas and Nevada” the pair examined the barriers that prevent people from subscribing to the life-changing service. Right now, only 49% of rural residents in Nevada and Texas subscribe to home broadband service, a significantly lower amount than the 64% of non-rural residents in these states.

Connected Texas research has found that demographic factors, such as age, income, and education level, significantly impact the decision to adopt broadband in rural Nevada and Texas.  Additionally, individuals in rural portions of these states are significantly more likely to cite availability as a barrier to adopting broadband. Approximately 13% of rural residents of Nevada and Texas found availability to be a hurdle to broadband adoption, compared to 7% of non-rural residents.

The conference featured presentations in a variety of disciplines, including rural studies, economics, mass communication, sociology, and urban studies. The WSSA is a professional organization focused on professional study, research, and promoting the teaching of social science. Membership included scholars from 30 disciplines across the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

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