17 Million US Children Do Not Have Broadband At Home

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Preliminary findings from Connected Nation’s 2011 residential survey reveal wide gaps of digital inclusion for nation’s children

WASHINGTON, DC – A new white paper by national nonprofit Connected Nation released today reveals wide gaps in vital broadband opportunities for children, especially in low-income households.

Broadband plays a vital role in future educational and economic opportunity for American society, but Connected Nation’s 2011 surveys of over 27,000 residential consumers shows that 17 million US children do not have broadband at home – and that 7.6 million of these are in low-income households.

The study also reveals that:

• Only 37% of low-income minority households with children have broadband at home, compared to 66% of all households

• Only 46% of all low-income households with children have broadband at home

• 40% of low-income households do not own a computer, compared to only 9% of all other households

“As we enter the country’s poorer areas, the adoption gap grows sharply. Hardest hit are low-income schoolchildren, because fewer opportunities to use broadband means fewer opportunities to learn, to interact, and to develop the skills necessary to participate in today’s economy,” said Brian Mefford, Connected Nation’s CEO. “Closing these gaps is key to our nation’s economic future, because an impoverished and disconnected population with fewer educational and employment opportunities could slam the brakes on economic recovery, job growth, and social development.”

Today’s study also examines the reasons for the adoption gap among the nation’s most vulnerable populations. The chief reason why low-income households with children do not adopt broadband is cost, with 43% of those households citing cost as the main reason they do not adopt, followed by a lack of digital skills at 14%.

The full 2011 residential survey is scheduled to be released by Connected Nation in October.

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About Connected Nation: Connected Nation is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed Internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Americans. Connected Nation effectively raises the awareness of the value of broadband and related technologies by developing coalitions of influencers and enablers for improving technology access, adoption and use. Connected Nation works with consumers, community leaders, states, technology providers and foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. www.connectednation.org.

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