Willingness to Pay for Broadband Access by Kentucky Farmers

Since the Internet’s inception its impact has been felt across the United States, but the distribution and adoption of the Internet has not necessarily been uniform geographically. As more consumers and businesses rely on the Internet to access information, the data transmission requirements have also increased. Consequently, access to broadband has become increasingly more important since dial-up cannot realistically handle the increased requirements. The use of broadband in agriculture can provide better access to price, weather, and management information while also opening new markets. However, many rural communities lag behind urban areas in broadband access and adoption rates. This study evaluates, through the use of a producer survey, the level of broadband Internet use, motivations for its use, degree of access to broadband, and willingness-to-pay (WTP) to fund broadband infrastructure investments. Results from the producer survey suggested farmers utilize the Internet primarily for accessing weather reports, e-mail, market reports, and agricultural news. Notably, the survey’s WTP questions allowed for the use of an interval regression to calculate producer WTP for varying demographics. The results suggested that producers who were younger, farmed larger farms, and those who currently use the Internet but do not have broadband access were WTP more in property taxes to support broadband infrastructure investments than those of a differing demographic. Because WTP levels varied drastically depending on the underlying demographics, it becomes difficult to pinpoint a WTP level for a one-time payment in property taxes that would be acceptable from a policy standpoint.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 44, 3
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JEL Codes:
Q13; Q31; Q38

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-30

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