FCC Survey Shows Affordability, Know-How Impede Broadband

A recent study on U.S. broadband adoption conducted by the Federal Communications Commission revealed that affordability and lack of online skills inhibit adoption by some 93 million people in the U.S. currently absent high speed Internet connections at home.

The FCC conducted the study from October 19 to November 23, 2009 in a random digit-dial survey of 5,005 adults--including 2,334 people who do not use broadband at home--to assess attitudes toward high speed Internet adoption.

The study's findings indicate that the biggest hurdle, of course, is money. About 28 million non-users, or 36 percent, don't have high speed Internet access because they can't afford the monthly fees or installations costs, don't have the money to buy a computer or don't want to sign a long-term service contract.

Another 22 percent, or 17 million adults, say that they lack the necessary skills to operate a computer or navigate the Internet, or have some concerns over data security or content on the Web.

And, still another 15 million non-user adults, or 19 percent, believe that the Internet is of little or no use to them. Happy dial-up users, of which there are still a few, also are included in this bucket.

Survey results also indicated that more than one barrier typically impedes non-adopters. Greater than 50 percent of non-adopters chose three or more reasons from a menu presented on the survey.

"The gap in broadband adoption is a problem with many different dimensions that will require many different solutions," said John Horrigan, Omnibus Broadband Initiative director of consumer research.

"Lowering costs of service or hardware, helping people develop online skills, and informing them about applications relevant to their lives are all key to sustainable adoption."

The FCC is slated to present its plan to expand broadband to Congress on March 17, 2010.

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