Having adequate access to the internet at home enhances quality-of-life for households and facilitates economic and social opportunities. Despite increased investment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of households in the rural United States still lack adequate access to high-speed internet. In this study, we evaluate a wireless broadband network deployed in Turney, a small, underserved rural community in northwest Missouri. In addition to collecting survey data before and after this internet intervention, we collected pre-treatment and post-treatment survey data from comparison communities to serve as a control group. Due to technical constraints, some of Turney's interested participants could not connect to the network, creating an additional comparison group. These comparisons suggest two primary findings, (1) changes in using the internet for employment, education, and health could not be directly attributed to the internet intervention, and (2) the internet intervention was associated with benefits stemming from the ability to use multiple devices at once. This study has implications for the design of future broadband evaluation studies, particularly those examining underserved rather than unserved communities. Recommendations for identifying appropriate outcome variables, executing recruitment strategies, and selecting the timing of surveys are made.


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Publication Status

Open Access


National Science Foundation, Grant 2044448

Keywords and Phrases

Economic and Social Benefits; Evaluation; Rural Broadband; Underserved Community; Wireless

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2023 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2023