Broadband Has Gone from a Luxury to a Necessity


Mike Beecher, Head of Engineering



Compared to 2010, the percentage of non-broadband users who believe not having home broadband is a major disadvantage is up significantly in every situation presented:

  • Pursuing job opportunities - up 19 percent
  • Getting health information - up 41 percent
  • Keeping up with the news - up 100 percent
  • Accessing government services - up 60 percent
  • Learning new things that could enrich your life - up 61 percent  

These findings are significant for our understanding of how to tackle the broadband adoption challenge. In 2010, the FCC developed the National Broadband Plan, which examined the question of broadband adoption and found that - in 2009 - one of the main reasons people didn't adopt broadband was a lack of relevance.

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A significant percentage of broadband non-adopters didn't think Internet access was necessary to their everyday lives. The Pew numbers show that when talking about key barriers to broadband adoption, it's time to cross relevance off the list.

This is an interesting push by the FCC to push acceptance of the Lifeline broadband support ($9.25 per residential customer), which is not a huge revenue support for service providers. It is a vehicle along with e-rate for schools to bring service to more of rural America. There is still hope for a release of the results of the Rate of Return CAF support soon that will give the Tier 3 providers some stability in high cost support for the future. Hopefully the momentum we are seeing with the Tier 2 market will carry on to the Tier 3 providers.

Americans increasingly see home broadband access as critical to their lives. Nonetheless, fixed broadband adoption has plateaued; and cost is the bigger barrier to adoption. At the end of the day, people get it. Broadband has gone from a luxury to a necessity. 

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Written by Michael Beecher at 00:00

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