With the Internet becoming increasingly central to the American lifestyle, connectivity status and speed are beginning to affect the public’s biggest purchase: their homes. Realtors say more buyers are not even considering properties without high-speed Web access, and some research suggests those buyers are having an impact on housing prices. For instance, a nationwide study from the University of Colorado and Carnegie Mellon University found that fiber-optic connections, the fastest available, can add $5,437 to the price of a $175,000 home. Real estate agents say broadband is becoming as big a deciding factor as an extra bathroom or upgraded kitchen. Telecommunications companies are required by law to make phone service available to every residence in their service areas, but the same is not yet true for all high-speed Internet service providers. The University of Colorado research team compared more than 520,000 home sales between 2011 and 2013 against federal data on the type of Internet access available. It built on a 2013 study by the same researchers that found a similar impact on housing prices in New York state. The new results mirrored the results of a 2014 study by the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater that determined that access to the Internet could add $11,815 to the value of a $439,000 vacation home in Door County, Wis. The impact appears to be most acute in rural markets where Internet speeds tend to slow significantly. As of 2013, 92 percent of urban areas had high-speed Internet versus just 47 percent of rural areas, according to the FCC. | Read More