Effects of (ultra-fast) fibre broadband on student achievement

We estimate the impact of ultra-fast broadband on schools’ academic performance. We do so through a difference-in-difference study of a new government-promoted fibre broadband network designed to deliver ultra-fast broadband to schools and hospitals. We show that fibre broadband increases primary (elementary) schools’ passing rates in standardised assessments by roughly one percentage point. Estimates are robust to alternative specifications, including controlling for time-varying covariates. We find no evidence that gender, ethnic minorities or students in remote schools benefit disproportionately. However, we find some evidence of a larger benefit within schools having a greater proportion of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.


  • Ultra-fast fibre broadband increases schools' pass rates in standardised assessments.
  • Primary (elementary) schools' pass rates increase by roughly one percentage point.
  • We find no difference across students who differ by gender, ethnicity or remoteness.
  • We find evidence that schools with more low socio-economic students benefit more.


Grimes, Arthur and Wilbur Townsend. 2018. "Effects of (ultra-fast) fibre broadband on student achievement." Information Economics and Policy  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infoecopol.2018.06.001

This topic in other formats

Working Paper

The Effect of Fibre Broadband on Student Learning (2017)