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GAO — Broadband: Intended Outcomes and Effectiveness of Efforts to Address Adoption Barriers Are Unclear | Full Text Reports…




Full Report: Broadband: Intended Outcomes and Effectiveness of Efforts to Address Adoption Barriers Are Unclear
Source: Government Accountability Office

Home broadband adoption can provide a number of social and economic benefits, according to literature from academic, government, and other research sources and interviews GAO held with researchers, consumer and industry organizations, and government officials. For example, broadband provides access to employment opportunities by providing the means to search and apply for jobs and participate in online job training. It also provides access to a number of government benefits, serves as a conduit for civic participation, and provides a means to connect family members, among other benefits.

Affordability, lack of perceived relevance, and lack of computer skills are the principal barriers to broadband adoption identified by literature and stakeholders GAO interviewed. Efforts to address these barriers include projects to increase broadband adoption that were funded by grants from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP) and outreach and other efforts by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and NTIA. GAO identified three key approaches used to address adoption barriers:

  • Discounts on computer equipment and broadband subscriptions.
  • Outreach efforts to promote broadband availability and benefits.
  • Training to help people develop skills in using computers and broadband.

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Broadband Report from NTIA


In a new report released today, Exploring the Digital Nation: America’s Emerging Online Experience [5], NTIA examines how Americans connect to the Internet and what Americans do once they get online. The report, co-authored with the Economics and Statistics Administration, confirms the dramatic growth in the number of Americans who are going online to perform important tasks like applying for jobs, looking up health information, and learning about current events.

The latest report updates and expands upon NTIA’s Exploring the Digital Nation: Computer and Internet Use at Home released in 2011. The new report, for the first time in eight years, explores how and why Americans go online. It is based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s July 2011 Current Population Survey (CPS) Computer and Internet Use Supplement, and includes information collected from 53,500 households.

“The data show that Americans depend on Internet use to engage in a wide range of everyday activities,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. “It underscores the need for us to continue our efforts to ensure all Americans have access to broadband.”

While most Americans still used a desktop or laptop computer to go online in 2011, mobile device use grew significantly, with more than a third of Americans reporting that they used their mobile phones to access the Internet. The report also found that almost all users who used the Internet at home did so via a broadband connection.

The July 2011 CPS data collection gathered information on a broad range of online activities. This report focuses primarily on three areas – employment, health, and civic engagement – that are particularly important for society. The CPS data suggest that widespread Internet use benefits society, that mobile devices further increase these benefits, and that the Internet’s great utility leads users to go online regularly and rely on it in their daily lives.

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