A peculiar experiment took place in a suburb of Toronto called "Netville". This area was equiped with broadband technology, free for residents. The effects were studied by sociologists Keith Hampton & Barry Wellman. There were two groups. The 1st group (group A) did get this technology, the other didn't (group B). The assumption was that the technology would replace direct contact between the people. It showed that group A developed deeper and broader conenctions to other residents, with more neighbourhood ties. The electronic communication significantly enhanced rather than replaced direct social ties.
Source: Nicholas Christakis & James Fowler, Connected, 2010, Harper Press