2:10 PM -- About 93 million Americans -- about one-third of the country -- don't get broadband at home, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revealed in a new survey that comes to light less than a month before the Commission presents its National Broadband Plan to Congress.
According to the study, the unsurprising, chief culprit was "affordability," with 36 percent of "non-adopters" claiming that they can't afford broadband or the installation fee, a computer, or are reluctant to do a long-term service contract. The average monthly bill reported by survey respondents was $41.
"Digital Literacy" was next, with 22 percent of those without broadband saying they lack the basic know-how or are concerned with exposing personal info or finding themselves exposed to inappropriate content. The third big barrier was "Relevance," with 19 percent of those not using broadband at home saying the Internet is a big waste of time (hey, they might actually be on to something), there's nothing on the Web that interests them, or they're happy using dial-up to access the Internet.
The FCC based those findings on interviews conducted with 5,005 U.S. adults (along with an "over-sample" of 2,334 non-adopters) between Oct. 19 and Nov. 23, 2009.
In response, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) highlighted how it and its MSO members aim to help fix the affordability gap with its "Adoption Plus" program, which is targeted to middle-school students from low-income families. (See Cable Offers 50% Broadband Discount to School Lunch Bunch.)
The FCC's slated to present the National Broadband Plan to Congress on March 17, a month later than originally expected. (See FCC Delays National Broadband Plan.)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable