Path to Economic Recovery Must Address Key Broadband Challenges for Consumers

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New Connected Nation Report Released During "Digital Pathways" Summit Adds Consumer Voice to National Broadband Planning

Connected Nation

However, we must consider the ways that we can account for the inclusion of those who are most at risk because they are least likely to use the technology available to them.

Coral Gables-Miami, Fla. (Vocus) October 14, 2008 -- State, local and national leaders must focus more attention on the consumer side of America's broadband challenge. So say data from a new report by Connected Nation, as well as some of the nation's top leaders who have come together for a summit on the topic, including U.S. Congressman and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, of South Carolina. The summit, entitled "Digital Pathways to US Economic Recovery and Prosperity," is being held this week in Miami, Florida and is co-chaired by Bill Kennard and Michael Powell (both former FCC Chairmen and top technology advisors to presidential candidates Obama and McCain respectively).

"I am optimistic about the level of investment that will be made in making broadband available to Americans," said Chairman Kennard. "However, we must consider the ways that we can account for the inclusion of those who are most at risk because they are least likely to use the technology available to them."

According to Chairman Powell, "We are making the world ready for the digital generation and ensuring all Americans can take advantage of technology. Rarely does such a high responsibility call us together to set aside partisan differences and personal interests to chart a common course."

Connected Nation Chairman and CEO, Brian Mefford, delivered a summit keynote address and call to action for summit participants saying, "Never before has the United States had such an opportunity for an economic return on investment as is available when we make broadband an infrastructure priority. Together, we have to elevate the understanding of the transformative power of broadband so that those who are the nation's most vulnerable will not remain on the wrong side of the digital divide, therefore allowing for an economic impact of proportions never before possible in the history of our nation."

The new Connected Nation report entitled, "Consumer Insights to America's Broadband Challenge," is the first in a series of consumer-side analyses based on interviews with more than 50,000 consumers across the nation's heartland. The first release provides the following key insights:

  • The largest barrier to broadband adoption is a lack of awareness about broadband's benefits. Nearly one-half (44%) of those with no home broadband connection say, "I don't need broadband."
  • Likewise, the top barrier to computer ownership is also a perceived lack of need. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of those who do not own a computer say "I don't need a computer."
  • Nearly one-fourth (24%) of those who do not own a computer cite the up-front cost as a barrier. Similarly, nearly one-fourth of those without a home broadband connection say broadband is too expensive.
  • Four out of ten parents with children who are without a home computer see no need for having a computer in the home. And nearly one-third (30%) of parents with children who do not have a home broadband connection see no need for a broadband connection.
  • More than one-half (56%) of people with disabilities who do not own a computer see no need for having a computer in the home. Four out of ten people with disabilities who do not have a home broadband connection see no need for a broadband connection.
  • Close to one-half (42%) of rural residents without a home broadband connection say it is because they do not need broadband. This compares with 19% of these rural residents who say they do not subscribe because broadband service is not available in their area. Twenty-two percent (22%) of these rural residents say broadband is too expensive.

To review the full report, visit http://www.connectednation.org.

About the Digital Pathway to U.S. Economic Recovery and Prosperity (Digital Pathway): Digital Pathway assembles a bipartisan cross section of industry leaders, academic researchers, government and consumers who all recognize that even the most robust supply-side policies will not produce widespread adoption and usage of broadband and advanced information communications technologies. Digital Pathway focuses on demand-side policies that will help foster our economic recovery and prosperity by enhancing productivity and efficiency in the areas of healthcare, education and governmental services.

About Connected Nation: Connected Nation is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization 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 technology deployment and adoption. Connected Nation works with community stakeholders, states and technology providers to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered around a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information about Connected Nation, Inc., visit http://www.connectednation.org.    

Contact: Kasey McCrary, kmccrary @ connectednation.org

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