FCC Survey: 93 Million Americans Disconnected from Broadband Opportunities


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Washington, DC - Feb 23, 2010 - The Federal Communications Commission released its National Broadband Plan Consumer Survey, Broadband Adoption and Use in America, which found that affordability and lack of digital skills are the main reasons why 93 million Americans -- one-third of the country -- are not connected to high-speed Internet at home.

"We need to tackle the challenge of connecting 93 million Americans to our broadband future," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "In the 21st century, a digital divide is an opportunity divide. To bolster American competitiveness abroad and create the jobs of the future here at home, we need to make sure that all Americans have the skills and means to fully participate in the digital economy."

On March 17, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission will deliver a National Broadband Plan to Congress that details a strategy for connecting the country to affordable broadband. The FCC says the plan will be a strategy for U.S. global leadership in high-speed Internet to create jobs and spur economic growth; to unleash new waves of innovation and investment; and to improve education, health care, energy efficiency, and public safety.

As part of the plan, the FCC conducted a national random digit-dial survey of adults in October and November 2009 to assess America's attitudes toward broadband. The Consumer Survey found that 35 percent of adult Americans do not have high-speed Internet connections at home -- or approximately 80 million adults and 13 million children over the age of five.

The survey identifies three main barriers to adoption:

  • Affordability: 36 percent of non-adopters (28 million adults) said they do not have home broadband because the monthly fee is too expensive (15 percent), they cannot afford a computer, the installation fee is too high (10 percent), or they do not want to enter into a long-term service contract (9 percent). According to survey respondents, their average monthly broadband bill is $41.
  • Digital Literacy: 22 percent of non-adopters (17 million adults) indicated that they do not have home broadband because they lack the digital skills (12 percent) or they are concerned about potential hazards of online life, such as exposure to inappropriate content or security of personal information (10 percent).
  • Relevance: 19 percent of non-adopters (15 million adults) said they do not have broadband because they say that the Internet is a waste of time, there is no online content of interest to them or, for dial-up users, they are content with their current service.

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