The Benton Institute for Broadband and Society has come out with a helpful help report on three data points that will help plan for Infrastructure Investment and Job Acts Broadband Funding. Here are their three points…
As policymakers begin to plan how to use Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funds to increase broadband connectivity, there are three important data points from two recent surveys to keep in mind:
- Some 32% of households are subscription vulnerable, that is, they struggle to maintain service and have a very difficult time affording service.
- Only 18% of cellphone-only respondents were “very satisfied” with their online access for activities such as school or work, activities that moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Some 35% of households with no internet connectivity were largely unable to use outside resources (e.g., friends or community organizations) for “proxy” internet use during the pandemic.
These data points offer “do’s” and “don’ts” for broadband planners and other decisionmakers:
Do not think that getting people online is a one-time transaction; prepare for the long-term to provide resources to keep people online.
Do not expect those relying only on smartphones to effectively engage online with educational or health resources; have laptop or tablet computer distribution programs in place.
Do not underestimate the challenge, given how many low-income people have very limited internet experience; prepare to provide them with one-on-one help.