PublishedNovember 8, 2010

Broadband Report Shows Digital Divide Remains

The Commerce Department released its broadband report today showing seven times more customers have high speed Internet service, but that gaps in who has access remain. The report is based on census data from 2001 through 2010.FCC Chairman Genachowski has made closing that digital divide a priority in his National Broadband Plan. He said the report shows more must be done because those who don’t have high speed Internet access can’t compete in the digital economy.The following comments may be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black:“This report shows a real opportunity divide remains in this country between the online haves and have nots. African Americans, Hispanics, the elderly and those in rural areas are underrepresented when it comes to having a high speed Internet connection.

“We also need to look for opportunities to get beyond the duopoly and bring more competition among Internet Access Providers so that people have a bigger menu of prices to choose from — helping more people afford Internet access.”

The following comments may be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association Vice President Cathy Sloan:

“We have a ‘chicken and egg’ problem where website entrepreneurs and app developers, knowing that certain demographics like rural populations and the elderly are underrepresented online are less likely to develop services that cater to their needs.

“Another improvement which would help respond to the numbers in this report is action on the FCC’s proposal for consumer Internet access protections like net neutrality. More folks are likely to sign up for broadband connections if the FCC assures them of an open Internet, where they can have access to everything, including video, online.  Yes, net neutrality rules will absolutely encourage broadband adoption.”

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