A new wrinkle for President Obama’s plan to bring universal broadband access to all Americans: The author of a widely-referenced study that claims 300,000 jobs are created for every percentage point rise in broaband use now calls the numbers “a gross overestimate.”
Reuters: “There is a great deal of overstatement in most of these studies,” said Robert Crandall, a Brookings Institution economist and co-author of the frequently-cited paper with that estimate.
U.S. lawmakers are proposing grants between $6 billion to $9 billion and tax credits to encourage investment in high- speed Internet, as part of an economic stimulus plan winding its way through Congress costing up to $900 billion.
The 300,000 jobs estimate has been used in newspapers and cited by other publications advocating investment in high-speed Internet, or broadband.
The Brookings Institution study, published in July 2007, is not particularly relevant now because of differing employment and related migration trends at the time of the study, Crandall said.
Attempting to extrapolate it nationwide at this time is a “gross overstatement,” he said.
If this takes steam out of the broadband push and derails the program, the big losers (besides people in “underserved areas”) are companies expected to benefit from the plan like Verizon (VZ) and Comcast (CMCSA).
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