This week the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) posted on its website Insight’s National Baseline Access Brief for the National Evaluation of ConnectHome, written by Carole Trippe and Brittany McGill. ConnectHome is a collaborative effort of communities, the federal government, and the private sector that aims to bring high-speed internet access to low-income families in HUD-assisted housing. Launched in 28 communities nationwide in 2015, the initiative seeks to bridge the “homework gap” experienced by children in these families.
The brief shows the results of one of three components of the evaluation—the Baseline Access Survey—which assessed the baseline level of internet access among families with children in 22 pilot communities prior to implementing the initiative. Insight examined the level of in-home internet access, the types of internet connection, the number and types of devices used (e.g., phone, laptop, tablet), the reasons for lack of internet access, and awareness of the ConnectHome initiative. Results show only about one-third of households have high-speed internet access at home. Another third are “underconnected,” relying, for example, on a cell phone data plan for in-home internet access, and one-third have no internet access at all at home. Most households without internet access report cost as the primary reason.
The study team is now conducting “deep dives” into the experiences of residents and public housing agencies with ConnectHome through site visits and focus groups in five ConnectHome communities. Future efforts will include a telephone survey of ConnectHome subscribers to learn how these households use the internet and how it has affected the way they experience their communities. Click here to view the webpage or here to view the brief.