The Technology Policy Institute just released a report on Access and Impacts: Exploring how internet access at home and online training shape people’s online behavior and perspectives about their lives…
This research addresses these questions through a survey of subscribers to Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. The 2020 survey was fielded prior to the pandemic; it has a total of 618 respondents. The research also has a longitudinal design by which 218 respondents from a 2018 survey were called back in 2020.
They look at three questions:
- How does having access at home shape people’s online behavior?
- What factors may influence people’s online behavior once they subscribe?
- Does having home internet access affect how people view their lives?
Here are the high level findings:
A study of Comcast Internet Essentials customers finds that home broadband service has…
A home access effect: 81% of IE subscribers say it helps a lot in carrying out online tasks, which in turn is correlated with:
- Acquiring more computing devices
- Expanding the scope of online activities
- Optimism about the future
A digital skills effect, which is limited to the 34% of IE users who have had formal digital skills training.
- Skills training is linked to higher levels of confidence in digital skills
- This, in turn, has a link to greater internet use for education and other purposes
- There is a correlation between digital skills training and people’s optimism about their futures
Looking at people’s digital skills training experience shows that:
Education is a large motivator for pursuing training
Learning how to better manage privacy and security of personal information also plays a role
Both in-person and online modes of training matter to users.
The time and location of training matters to those who pursue it, and many say a time that better fits their schedules would improve the training experience