Why don’t people use broadband at home? They need a good experience with it. Be that good experience!

I feel like it’s due diligence to include the following information, but not news. The NTIA reports on the top reasons non-adopters do not use broadband at home

Results from the latest survey show the top reason that households gave for not using the Internet at home in 2015 was that they did not need it or had no interest in going online (55 percent). This was the number one reason given in 2013 as well. A quarter cited the expense of Internet service, while 7 percent said they lacked a working computer.  Since 2001, these reasons have remained the primary ones that households without Internet users have given to explain why they don’t use the Internet at home.



As they note – the answers have not changed much in the last 15 years. The article goes on to talk about national tools to help get people connected…

Recognizing the importance of broadband access to America’s prosperity and the well-being of its people, in March 2016, the Obama Administration established a national goal of connecting 20 million more Americans to broadband by 2020. To meet this goal, the Administration is urging government, businesses, and non-profits to support its ConnectALL initiative, which focuses on helping the traditionally vulnerable populations that NTIA data show remain disproportionately represented among the digitally unconnected.  NTIA is supporting this goal through its BroadbandUSA program, which provides technical assistance to communities that want to expand their broadband capacity and promote broadband adoption. As new and ongoing efforts to close the digital divide seek to attract additional resources to this important work, NTIA will continue gathering and analyzing data to inform policies to help unconnected Americans bridge the digital divide.

After a fun week hearing about digital inclusion efforts in Minnesota, I’m reminded that most people become interested in access if they have a good experience with it. That often means having someone they know or trust help them do something better, easier or faster with the help of technology. Or helping them do something new and useful. I think of the story from Nobles County of the New American who went to the library to find a way to connect with folks at home just as they were unpacking their new tablets. They hooked him up on Facetime and he was talking to family in minutes. In the same town a resident noted that he saved a lot of money after attending a digital training session and learned how to connect with folks “back home” without a phone charge.

We could each help close the digital divide by helping one person have that good experience with technology. Help someone learn to use mapping on their smartphone, show your in-laws how to Facetime (your spouse!) or just think about times when you can introduce people (at work, school, church) to an application that draws them in. It’s easy to do and an opportunity for you to be a hero!

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, Research by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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