The Internet is now considered a vital part of the way most Americans work and connect, and potential homebuyers are placing high-speed Internet access high on their wish lists along with granite countertops and multiple bathrooms.

The Internet is now considered a vital part of the way most Americans work and connect, and potential homebuyers are placing high-speed Internet access high on their wish lists along with granite countertops and multiple bathrooms.

So it will be welcome news to these buyers that the White House is working to expand high-speed broadband to dozens of cities across the country.

Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com

Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com

Today, President Barack Obama announced the ConnectHome initiative, a collaboration between the federal government and the private sector to increase digital opportunities for more Americans. The pilot program will give 275,000 low-income households in 27 cities and one tribal nation broadband access, technical training, digital literacy education and devices for residents in assisted housing units.

The issue of Internet access is a burgeoning topic of discussion in the real estate industry.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the availability of fast Internet service is starting to become a major factor in Americans’ decision to buy a home. Real estate agents across the country claim that many buyers are shunning homes that lack fast Internet access.

At the same time, a recent study released by researchers at the University of Colorado and Carnegie Mellon University found that fiber-optic connections, the fastest type of high-speed Internet available, can add $5,437 to the price of a $175,000 home — about as much as a fireplace, or half the value of a bathroom.

This study results mirrored the findings of a 2014 study by the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater that found access to the Internet could add $11,815 to the value of a $439,000 vacation house in Door County, Wisconsin.

Some real estate industry companies are even partnering with Internet service providers to provide high-speed Internet to some buyers. For example, Pulte Homes has a marketing agreement with Verizon that gives buyers access to a premium bundle of communication services, including broadband services.

Targeted in the ConnectHome pilot program are:

  • Albany, Atlanta and Macon, Georgia
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Camden and Newark, New Jersey
  • Choctaw Nation, Oklahoma
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Denver
  • Durham, North Carolina
  • Fresno and Los Angeles, California
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee
  • Meriden, Connecticut
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Rockford, Illinois
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Seattle
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Washington, D.C.

Eight nationwide Internet service providers, including Google Fiber and Cox Communications, will offer monthly Internet service to residents in these communities. In addition, in select communities of the Choctaw Tribal Nation, Cherokee Communications, Pine Telephone, Suddenlink Communications and Vyve Broadband will give more than 400 of Choctaw’s public housing residents access to low-cost, high-speed Internet.

Email Amy Swinderman.


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