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NTIA Seeks Researcher Input on Broadband Survey

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WASHINGTON, June 7, 2010 – On Thursday of last week the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) held yet another meeting regarding their impending survey regarding home internet use.  The agency is going to add 3-5 questions to the Current Population Survey as the Internet Use Supplement. The supplement hasn’t been a regular part of the CPS since 2007 but recently it has been re-added to the survey. The goal of the meeting was to update the questions asked during the survey to obtain new information.

Anna M. Gomez, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information stated that a formal Notice of Information regarding the survey would be issued sometime this summer and researchers should prepare comments for the NTIA to review.

Mark E. Doms, Commerce Department Chief Economist, Economics and Statistics Administration Bureau of the Census and Broadband Mapping Data assured researchers that the data collected during the recent 2009 supplement would be released in September. Additionally he hopes to be able to geocode the data received from the future supplement results along with the data obtained from the broadband mapping that the states are doing to possibly create some detailed modeled. This data would be made available through the Secure Data Centers.

NTIA Office of Policy and Development Economist Jim McConnaughey emphasized the need to obtain good quality data which can be used by not just the Commerce Department but also researchers to further policy creation and analysis.

The researchers in attendance including representatives from the Phoenix Center, Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and two faculty members from North Western.

Among the questions which the research community wants to see added to the survey include what devices are people accessing the internet on and what specifically they are doing on the internet. Northwestern researcher Eszter Hargittai asked that specific questions about where people are using the internet be asked; not just the simple at home, at work, at public places, but more specifically to include such options as but not limited to a library, a computer center, a coffee shop, public Wi-Fi or a friend’s house.

The actual survey will be conducted till July 2011.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

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