WASHINGTON, June 15, 2010- Broadband adoption is a multifaceted and complex issue which involves a number of stakeholders and was the subject of the second panel at the Broadband Policy Summit VI. The panel consisted of representatives from organizations that advocate on the behalf of the elderly, rural Americans, and low income Americans.
President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Internet Industry Association David P. McClure internet commerce and trade organization moderated the panel. The panel consisted of former RUS Administrator Hilda Legg; Senior Policy Advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute Christopher Baker and One Economy’s Director of the Office of the Chairman and National Director of Community Impact Clyde Edwards.
Legg emphasized the need for true broadband to increase adoption; she felt that by giving users faster speeds they are more likely to use it since the connection is instantaneous. “If you want people to adopt then you need true access, reliable and constantly on.”
In response to survey results which showed that cost was the main reason why people did not subscribe to broadband the panelists each agreed that by showing the people how they can use it in their daily lives and help them save money or access entertainment they are more likely to subscribe. Legg pointed to the fact that many of those who claimed that broadband was too expensive have cable or satellite television because they see the value of the entertainment. Edwards highlighted a program run by One Economy which helps lower income Americans eFile their taxes which allows them to obtain their tax refund faster; once these individuals see how simple eFiling is and how they get their refund faster they are more likely to adopt.
Edwards also praised the Digital Literacy Corps which were proposed in the National Broadband Plan.He went on to explain a program which his organization runs to train young people in computer and internet use. These young people then go back into their community and help train others.
Christopher Baker was hopeful of the Google Fiber project going on and suggested the increase of such high speed test beds as a way to show why high speed access is necessary.