Findings affirm nation’s need to focus on driving broadband adoption
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Connected Nation released its annual residential broadband adoption survey results revealing the top trends in technology use among key demographics. The preliminary indicators from the survey are available online, which gives a comprehensive view of the challenges and opportunities for expanding broadband in targeted sectors. Most notably, the majority of low-income, senior, disabled adult, Hispanic, and African-American households are without broadband at home, leaving them facing an uphill battle in keeping up with essential online resources, job and educational opportunities, and social services.
“The broadband adoption gap affects us all – it affects the economic future of our communities, it affects the education of our children, and it affects the economy’s potential for job growth,” said Tom Koutsky, chief policy counsel for Connected Nation. “But there are no simple solutions to what is a multifaceted problem. Our state-based research into the demographic, economic, and digital skill barriers to adoption is a crucial first step that will help government and communities tailor and target effective broadband adoption solutions.”
These surveys were conducted in support of Connected Nation’s state programs, which are at the forefront of state efforts to close the nation’s digital gap. These surveys explore the main barriers to adoption – cost, digital skills, and relevance – and also provide unique insights into the broadband landscape in several states.
These surveys also reveal that:
• 31.6 million people living in rural areas do not subscribe to broadband service at home. This is more than the populations of Texas and Wisconsin combined.
• When comparing to the 66% of all households that do subscribe, there remain large gaps among key demographics:
o 62% of low-income households;
o 51% of Hispanic households; and
o 57% of seniors are without broadband.
• 7.6 million children in low-income households are without access to this essential tool at home.
• 15.4 million American adults say a lack of digital skills and knowledge of how to use a computer and broadband is the main reason they don’t have broadband at home.
• The biggest gap is among low-income seniors. Only 22% of low-income seniors subscribe to broadband and only 41% have a computer at home.
State-specific results and comparisons to those benchmarks for those categories and many others are available on Connected Nation’s new consumer trends widget. This interactive tool gives people the ability to view, share, and download the results. Connected Nation’s state programs will use these survey results to target solutions in communities based on the demographic and economic barriers that the surveys indicate are most relevant to those communities.
This release comes on the heels of the FCC’s newly released plans to launch a comprehensive public-private initiative called Connect to Compete, aimed at extending digital literacy training and providing employment assistance to communities. Connected Nation is one of the top strategic advisors in the national initiative.
Connected Nation’s 2011 residential surveys were conducted in ten states and include responses from 27,000 residents in the summer of 2011, which makes it among the largest, most comprehensive set of data on residential broadband and the barriers to adoption ever collected in the United States. These surveys were conducted as part of the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) grant program, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and were funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment of 2009. These surveys and other Connected Nation research will support local and regional broadband initiatives and programs, which will target intervention and policy responses to challenged communities.
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About Connected Nation: Connected Nation is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) that expands access to and use of broadband Internet and the related technologies that are enabled when individuals and communities have the opportunity and desire to connect. Connected Nation effectively raises the awareness of the value of broadband and related technologies by developing coalitions of influencers and enablers for improving technology availability 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. http://www.connectednation.org.
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