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Better Data, More Home Computers Could be "Best Practices" on Demand Side, Experts Say

SAN MATEO, Calif., May 11, 2009 – “Best Practices” for increasing broadband “take rates” should include better data collection and a focus on placing more computers in homes and schools, a panel of experts said Monday at the Tech Policy Summit’s Broadband Innovation conference.

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SAN MATEO, Calif., May 11, 2009 – “Best Practices” for increasing broadband “take rates” should include better data collection and a focus on placing more computers in homes and schools, a panel of experts said Monday at the Tech Policy Summit’s Broadband Innovation conference.

Despite recent studies showing increasing adoption of broadband internet services, demand in minority and low-income communities remains a “major concern,” said Connected Nation National Policy Director Philip Brown. Brown specifically cited recent data reflecting a “take rate” approximately 20 percent below the national average for minorities and Americans with disabilities.

Education is also a factor in whether a household is likely to subscribe to broadband service, Brown said. Consumers without college degrees are equally unlikely to use services, he said, without regard to race or ethnicity.

But making a clear determination of where broadband is and is not being used requires a better map than currently exists, he said.  “To truly use a broadband map…it needs to be as detailed as possible.”  In particular, Brown said a properly implemented mapping project will be extremely granular, and easy to update with future data.

Demand can best be stimulated with programs to increase digital literacy and therefore encourage the purchase of both services and equipment, said One Economy Corp. vice president Alan Greenlee. There are benefits to “public access” programs  based out of libraries and community technology centers, he said. But the focus of demand-side programs must be the home, he cautioned. “As a national public policy, the home needs to be the primary focus.”

Digital literacy programs can be especially successful when scaled properly, said Children’s Partnership Technology Associate Elaine Carpenter. Carpenter singled out the California Emerging Technology Fund “school to home” program for its narrow focus on households on “the wrong side of the digital divide.”

And while Greenlee called the $250 million earmarked in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act for demand-side and education programs “a wise piece of public policy,” he said he still harbored concerns that local groups already working in underserved areas may be ignored.

Grass-roots efforts to stimulate demand at the local level on a “county by county basis” are especially effective, Brown said. In particular, he said online access to government services can be a driver of increased broadband adoption.

The number one barrier to adoption, Brown said, is the belief that broadband services aren’t useful in the home. But programs that put computers in the home create a “tipping point” in driving adoption, he said, adding the cost of access is probably less of a hinderance than the cost of a computer itself.

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CES 2023: NTIA to Address Broadband, Spectrum, and Privacy, Says Alan Davidson

Alan Davidson asserted that marginalized communities are harmed disproportionately by privacy violations.

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Photo of NTIA Adminstrator Alan Davidson

LAS VEGAS, January 7, 2023 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s 2023 priorities will include the funding and facilitation of states’ broadband deployment programs, the development of a national spectrum policy, and actions to protect the privacy of marginalized groups, said Administrator Alan Davidson at the Consumer Electronics Show on Saturday.

The NTIA’s most high-profile task is to oversee the operations of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program, a $42.45 billion slush fund for broadband-infrastructure deployments which will be divided among the governments of states and U.S. territories. Those governments will administer final distribution of the BEAD funds in accordance with the NTIA’s guidelines.

“This is our generation’s big infrastructure moment,” Davidson said. “This is our chance to connect everybody in the country with what they need to thrive in the modern digital economy, and we are going to do it.”

Davidson reiterated his agency’s stated intention to develop a comprehensive national spectrum strategy to facilitate the various spectrum interests of government and private industry. To allocate spectrum in a manner that fulfills federal needs and stimulates the growth of innovators, largely in the sector of 5G, the NTIA – the administrator of federally used spectrum – must coordinate with the Federal Communications Commission – the administrator of other spectrum.

Calling for a national privacy law, Davidson asserted that marginalized communities are harmed disproportionately by privacy violations. He stated that the NTIA will, possibly within weeks, request public comment on “civil rights and privacy.”

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NTIA

NTIA Recommends Partnerships and Engagement to Address Workforce Obligations

NTIA recommends states develop relationships with labor organizations.

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Screenshot of webinar with moderators Scott Lively, Sarah Salgado, and speaker Lucy Moore

WASHINGTON, December 13, 2022 – An NTIA policy analyst said earlier this month that states should develop relationships with labor organizations and invite telecommunications companies and federal officials to its workforce training sites to fulfill their obligations under its Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program.

Lucy Moore, an NTIA policy analyst, was discussing at an industry stakeholder webinar how BEAD applicants to the Commerce agency’s $42.5-billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program can fulfill their obligations under the NTIA’s Workforce Planning Guide, published in October.

Moore recommended state entities applying for BEAD money to develop relationships with partners to gain insight into workforce training and development on a state or local level. These partners could include industry groups, community advocates, union organization representatives, educational institutions and workforce intermediary organizations.

She also suggested state entities for BEAD funding invite federal program officers to training programs to demonstrate strategies currently being practiced for training and workforce development.

She also urged industry to conduct early and proactive engagement with the state broadband offices and workforce teams to obtain a clear understanding of workforce requirements for subcontractors and subgrantees. Stakeholders include equity-focused organizations, community-based organizations, workforce boards, schools and community colleges, she said.

Verizon and GenerationUSA say they offer free technical training, which is an example of a training program that teaches technical and soft skills to adults. Another is the Telecommunications Industry Registered Apprenticeship program, whose goal is to expand the safety and productivity of the telecommunications workforce. It offers 15 occupational apprenticeship programs recognized by the Labor Department.

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After FCC Map Release Date, NTIA Says Infrastructure Money to Be Allocated by June 2023

The NTIA urged eligible entities to submit challenges to the FCC’s broadband map by January 13, 2023.

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Photo of NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson, in January 2015 used with permission

WASHINGTON, November 10, 2022 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said Thursday its intention to announce allocations from the $42.5-billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program by June 30, 2023.

The announcement comes on the heels of the FCC announcing Thursday that a preliminary draft of the commission’s national broadband map will be released and available for public challenge on November 18, which was required for the NTIA to begin moving the broadband infrastructure money out of the door to the states. The challenge process is the primary mechanism to correct for errors in the map’s data.

Don’t miss the discussion about “What’s the State of IIJA?” at Digital Infrastructure Investment–Washington on November 17, 2022: Nearly one year into the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, what is its state of implementation? How are state broadband offices feeling about the pace of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration? What are they doing to prepare for it? How big of a jolt to the broadband industry will the IIJA be?

“The next eight weeks are critical for our federal efforts to connect the unconnected,” said NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson. “The FCC’s upcoming challenge process is one of the best chances to ensure that we have accurate maps guiding us as we allocate major…awards in 2023. I urge every state and community that believes it can offer improvements to be part of this process so that we can deliver on the promise of affordable, reliable high-speed internet service for everyone in America.”

To ensure public input is considered in the allocation process, the NTIA urged eligible entities Thursday to submit challenges to the FCC’s national broadband map – the dataset that will shape the distribution of BEAD grants – by January 13, 2023.

To promote a robust challenge process, the NTIA said it will offer technical assistance to state governments, informational webinars to the public, and regular engagement with state officials to identify and resolve issues.

Clarification: A previous headline said the NTIA would “finalize” money by June 2023. In actuality, the NTIA will initially announce BEAD “allocations” by June 2023, then eligible entities must submit proposals to the NTIA for approval before the money is fully disbursed, which could be sometime after June 2023. 

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