The FCC released five significant barriers associated with the adoption of Broadband within the U.S. which is part of the National Broadband Plan scheduled for a Feb 17, 2010 submittal to Congress. The perceived barriers were broad ranging and simplistic in their association to various deterrents to both access and use of this medium.
Affordability of service
Affordability of hardware
Insufficient digital and technical literacy levels
Unawareness of personal relevance and utility of broadband technology and online content
Inability to use existing technology and applications due to physical or mental disabilities
According to the PEW Internet and American Life Project the top reason the internet was not adopted by non-users was (no interest in getting online), representing 33% of those surveyed. The second most stated reason indicated a (lack of access to the internet), representing 13% of the group.
The Broadband Stimulus Plan will go a long way in helping both the public and private sectors build out the infrastructure to help accommodate the plan, of at least, giving the access to both metropolitan and rural areas. However, what seems to be just as important on an adoption level is the relevance of education in the literacy of (relevance, utility, digital, and technical skills) in using this technology. This should be the next core strategy of the FCC.
Why not have the FCC, and yes, the private sector like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T and Verizon get seriously involved in the education of our student population in learning the technology and its advantages for future adoption across a broad spectrum of users? I’m not asking for an FCC mandate to the private sector, but a partnership between both public and private entities to ensure a lasting model of proficiency which will help these sectors in the long-term, while positioning the U.S for a strong competitive edge in the global economy.
An interesting point to this end is the announcement of our local school district’s (adoption plan) within the classroom. The plan is a partnership with Tupelo Public School District and Apple, see (Apple Laptop Computers for TPSD 6-12 Graders and all Teachers) to provide every student and teacher in grades 6-12 access to an Apple laptop computer at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year. Instead of providing textbooks and photocopies to all students, the District will provide text books loaded on to computers and photocopy PDF’s via e-mail for instruction.
We all understand the importance of the role education plays in the adoption of any significant initiative rather it be technology, business, economics, math, history, language, writing, reading, i.e..in teaching these fundamental skills to be successful in life, creating a true contributor to society, and not just a drain on societal resources. Sufficed to say, my vote is to adopt a broadband technology literacy program from a public and private association with schools to help fund these initiatives for the future workers in our economic model. The future of the U.S economy depends on it.