National Broadband Plan Workshop:Building the Fact Base: The State of Broadband Adoption and Utilization (see summary)

Building the Fact Base:
The State of Broadband Adoption and Utilization

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Wordle created from this session:

Federal Communications Commission
Room TW-C305 (Commission Meeting Room)
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
August 19, 2009

Kirk Burgee
[email protected]
(202) 418-1599

FCC Participants:

  • John Horrigan, Consumer Research Director, Omnibus Broadband Initiative
  • Brian David, Adoption and Usage Director, Omnibus Broadband Initiative
  • Kirk Burgee, Chief of Staff, Wireline Competition Bureau
  • Neşe Guendelsberger, Acting Chief, Spectrum and Competition Policy Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
  • Sarah E. Whitesell, Associate Chief, Media Bureau

Panel: Building the Fact Base: The State of Broadband Adoption and Utilization

  • Susannah Fox, Associate Director, Digital Strategy, Pew Internet & American Life Project (see prepared presentation)
  • Peter L. Stenberg, Ph.D., Senior Economist, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (see prepared presentation)
  • Christopher Guttman-McCabe, Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs, CTIA-The Wireless Association (see prepared presentation)
  • C. Lincoln (Link) Hoewing, Vice President of Internet and Technology Policy, Verizon (see prepared presentation)
  • Karen Archer Perry, Director, Connected Communities Team, Knight Center of Digital Excellence
  • Kate Williams, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science

The goal of this workshop is to assess, and facilitate a conversation about, the current state of data on broadband adoption and utilization, as well as the associated measurement and other challenges. In order to create an effective National Broadband Plan, the Commission must have an accurate and comprehensive understanding of broadband adoption and utilization. Fundamental to this understanding is an awareness of the data and techniques currently used to measure broadband adoption and utilization. The workshop will explore such topics as what is known about the current state of adoption and utilization of broadband service in general, what factors influence and shape such adoption and utilization and what current trends mean for the future.

The following are some of the preliminary topics that will be covered at this workshop. The FCC is inviting suggestions.

  • What is the current data on adoption/utilization?
  • What are the relevant trends in adoption/utilization?
  • How should adoption be measured - what are the challenges?
  • What factors influence adoption/utilization, for example, attitudes, skills, and systematic differences across relevant socio-economic groups?
  • Going forward: what additional information is necessary to understand current and future adoption/utilization?

What some are already telling the FCC about broadband adoption...

National Caucus and Center On Black Aged, Inc
As the FCC establishes a national broadband strategy, NCBA hopes that the Commission will strive to bring broadband to all Americans with low barriers for adoption. Our constituency is among the group of "low-adopters" of broadband technology. Connected Nation finds the average broadband adoption rate of all Americans to be at 50%. However, 45% of African Americans and a mere 25% of those over the age of 65 have adopted broadband at home. These figures illustrate the need for affordable broadband and the importance of informing low-adopting demographic groups of its benefits.

US Internet Industry Associations comments filed in association with NetLiteracy
It will be necessary to complete the buildout of the broadband infrastructure in order to gain a sufficient subscriber base to further reduce consumer costs, and to reach the 10 percent of Americans who are not using broadband because of issues of price and availability. But the broader issue is adoption of broadband by those who have access available and still cannot use the Internet for a variety of reasons.

This position paper proposes a community-based approach to achieving ubiquitous adoption of broadband, based on five programs to:

  • Create a national Digital Inclusion initiative to drive broadband adoption
  • Convene a national conference and website to coordinate community efforts- the major stakeholders should e included in working groups that include public private and non profit sectors.
  • Coordinate targets and goals, identify funding priorities, identify and create "best of class" solutions that will serve as a resource data base for local communities utilizing public and private funding to increase computer and Internet literacy, and present digital inclusion structure examples that will provide the communities a menu of alternatives from which to choose or build upon to best meet their constituencies' requirements.
  • Solicit public comment
  • Create community center education programs to communicate the value proposition for broadband through traditional media should reach down to those that are not net literate. Both local and national media should play a role in this campaign
    • A top down media campaign must reach out to individuals who are not net literate
    • A bottom up campaign should then reach out to senior and community centers.
      • Create a flexible and customizable curriculum for use in each community center
      • Provide for a "Student Net Literacy Corps,"
      • Provide computers to low-income Americans who do not have them - A Computer Re Tasking Program.
      • Either through donations from private citizens or computer companies - businesses could receive tax credits for donating old computers