Broadband Adoption Accelerators

I’ve been taking time to digest the The Broadband Coalition’s report on Expanding and Accelerating the Adoption & Use of Broadband Throughout the Economy. What I appreciate most about the report is the systemic approach it takes: leveraging existing community infrastructure, programs and organizations while expanding their capacity to include broadband adoption and use.

I think the approach and recommendations from this report could quite easily be adapted to other media access and literacy campaigns.

The report defines Broadband accelerators as programs that:

• Promote and assist affordable home computer and Internet access.
• Are embedded in established community social and institutional networks.
• Are “High-touch” – based on personal interactions and relationships.
• Provide continuing formal as well as peer support to the new adopter through several critical stages of the “adoption curve”: engage, train, equip and support.
• Integrate basic broadband adoption with other strongly motivating opportunities, e.g. employment, education, public safety, healthcare needs, civic and neighborhood improvement.

This approach can be well-informed by the Community Technology Centers movement: while many centers were founded on offering computer training, they evolved into service centers specializing in employment, education, etc. Broadband adoption, like computer literacy before it, is a means, not an end.

To resource these changes, the report makes some key policy recommendations at each level of government:

At a national level, foster evergreen funding sources to support community efforts needed to help nonsubscribers become confident and effective technology users.

Encourage states to adopt policies and strategies that facilitate and support the building of community-based broadband access and adoption programs.

Encourage local initiatives and local funding to support community-based broadband access and adoption programs.


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