Date posted: June 15, 2011
In today’s opening general session and, again, in remarks at “The Park,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski challenged the cable industry and all broadband internet providers to help close the broadband adoption divide.
Broadband is critical to our economy, to our education, to civic engagement, and is as important in the 21st century as electricity was in the 20th century. While broadband service is available to 93% of American households, only 67% subscribe. Compare that to adoption rates over 90% in countries like Singapore and, said Genachowski , that is “just not good enough.”
FCC studies found that there are three basic reasons people do not subscribe to broadband: they don’t understand the value and importance of broadband; they are afraid of encountering dangers online, or; they can’t afford it.
The chairman said that he was “more than happy to acknowledge the excellent work of the cable industry” in creating innovative programs to bridge the broadband adoption gap. All of the major cable broadband providers, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, and Charter, have been experimenting with programs that provide deeply discounted broadband service, an inexpensive computer, and digital literacy training to families with children eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program. The early results have been very encouraging.
Check back with Cable in the Classroom for major announcements about broadband adoption programs later this summer.