WASHINGTON, August 20, 2009 - One of the largest challenges in developing a national broadband plan will be to find out who has broadband, who doesn't and what it's used for, said FCC Consumer Research Director John Horrigan in opening remarks at a Wednesday staff workshop.
The agency's most recent seminar focused on building a fact base for the national strategy, which the FCC must present to Congress by February 2010.
Susannah Fox, associate director for digital strategy at the Pew Internet and American Life Project, said 63 percent of Americans have home broadband service -- a "significant increase" over 2008. A "key point" of Pew's data shows broadband users value most the ability to share information with health care providers. Eighty percent of users have used broadband to find health care information online -- "the de facto second opinion," Fox said.
The survey found that consumers with broadband gain the ability to contribute information and communicate with others, as well as find rich media information on topics of interest, Fox said. Surveys did "not show a lot of harm" from consumers turning to the Internet for health care information, she added.
Income gaps between urban and rural areas is a major factor affecting broadband adoption, said Peter Stenberg, a senior economist at the Department of Agriculture. Population density also plays a part because service "radiates" from urban areas, he said.
Citing data from her own study, Fox said relevance remains the biggest hurdle to increasing widespread broadband adoption. But Fox was optimistic that as people become more comfortable using the Internet as an information utility, emerging uses of broadband -- like health care -- could be "a possible leverage point" for increasing adoption, she suggested.
Wireless could play a major role in increasing widespread broadband adoption, said Christopher Guttman-McCabe, vice president for regulatory affairs at CTIA. The wireless industry trade group has conducted a semi-annual survey since 1985 which has evolved to include broadband service, he said. For example, 84 percent of wireless devices are now Web capable, Guttman-McCabe said. "Broadband has been driven by...investment in wireless networks," he said. Instead of focusing on broadband pipes to physical locations, he suggested broadband services should be measured by persons served -- not households.
Wireless has become the "third pipe" to "the person...not the home," he said, with data-capable phones, aircards and netbooks leading the charge. This will drive an "explosion" in wireless data over the next four years," he said, citing data provided by Cisco Systems. "With higher speed networks...the ecosystem is just changing before our eyes."
- Lack of Symmetrical Networks May be Choking Internet Performance, Say Fiber Advocates on Webinar
- Coronavirus Roundup: NCTA on Rural Fund, New York Times on Big Tech, New Rural Broadband Bill
- Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 – Infrastructure Investment in a Time of COVID19
- Coronavirus Roundup: Senators Question Google on Privacy, UTOPIA CEO on Fiber’s Inevitability, NCTA’s COVID19 Dashboard
- Syracuse, N.Y., and Other Cities Discuss Process of Coexistence With ‘Small Cell’ Wireless Technology in Rights-of-Way
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Education4 days ago
Online Elementary Education is No Spring Break for Parents Teaching from Home
Health4 days ago
Coronavirus May Have Changed Everything, But Not the Human Capacity For Good
Net Neutrality1 month ago
FCC Seeks Comment on Net Neutrality Issues Remanded by Appeals Court: Public Safety, Pole Attachments and Lifeline
Health3 weeks ago
Broadband Breakfast Live Online Will Stream Daily in March on ‘Broadband and the Coronavirus’
Health1 month ago
Battling Coronavirus COVID-19, Broadband Could Provide Relief Although Telemedicine May Not Help
Broadband Mapping3 weeks ago
Commerce Department’s NTIA Details Its New-Found Progress in Broadband Mapping Technology
Antitrust2 weeks ago
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Brings Global Antitrust Experts Together in Videoconference
Broadband Roundup4 weeks ago
Coronavirus Roundup: Broadband Providers Take the Pledge, T-Mobile Spectrum, Rural Health Care Funding