Experimentation is the Watchword as Communities Seek to Close Adoption Gaps

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For many low-income Americans, internet connectivity is a struggle. About half (53%) of those in households with annual incomes under $30,000 have a home broadband internet subscription plan, compared with 93% of households whose annual incomes exceed $75,000. This makes closing connectivity gaps a priority for policymakers, the non-profit sector, and many internet service providers (ISPs). What is perhaps less appreciated is the variety of models that have arisen to try to reach those without broadband at home. The population of non-home broadband users is not monolithic. The plurality cannot afford the monthly access fee. Others do not have a sufficient level of digital skills to confidently negotiate the online world. Those who rely on a smartphone often cannot afford a broadband subscription, but they also report limitations on what they can do online with only a small screen and (often) a cap on monthly data usage. [John B. Horrigan is Senior Fellow at the Technology Policy Institute, with a focus on technology adoption, digital inclusion, and evaluating the outcomes and impacts of programs designed to promote communications technology adoption and use.]


Experimentation is the Watchword as Communities Seek to Close Adoption Gaps