Expanding Broadband for Equitable Democracy
Broadband internet is a key component of a community's civic infrastructure. When communities have access to broadband, it can be one of the strengths that provide pathways for residents to participate, have a say in important decisions, and take action to improve their lives. When access is lacking or unequal, it can exacerbate inequities and contribute to social exclusion that prevents all people from fully engaging in civic life and democracy.
A new research brief conducted by CIRCLE explores the connections between broadband and civic participation. Based on previous scholarship and new findings, we make recommendations for how various stakeholders can ensure that broadband expansion both includes and strengthens the existing civic infrastructure and civic culture in communities in order to promote a more equitable democracy.
CIRCLE's project on media ecosystems and youth voting explore the role of broadband in a community's civic infrastructure and its connection to youth voter turnout.
CIRCLE's Growing Voters framework lays out the ways that various fields and institutions must work together to create equitable pathways to engagement for all young people.
The Role of Local Institutions
Expanded broadband can increase engagement with libraries, local youth groups, and other community organizations.
Support for this work was provided in part by the Digital Equity and Opportunity Initiative (DEOI), a project managed by Media Democracy Fund.