You might not believe this, but over 1 in 5 adults in the United States over the age of 18 don’t use the Internet. In a nation with a greater population of connected devices than people, why don’t they want to take advantage of the World Wide Web? There are so many benefits to using broadband, so it seems in society’s best interest to have all Americans connected to each other. Providers of broadband are working towards ensuring that all Americans have access to the Internet, no matter what their financial or technological situation might be.
Comcast runs its Internet Essentials programs as the largest broadband adoption program in the country. It was announced recently that the Internet Essentials program has connected over 150,000 families since it first started a little over a year ago, and they are raring to connect even more people.
This spring, Comcast will expand the eligibility requirements of the program to include families with low-income students at private schools in addition to students who are homeschooled. With this effort to change the standards, Comcast is now making broadband and computers more affordable as well as introducing free training that will promote digital literacy to over two and a half million students and their families.
The company has also decided to expand how the Internet Essentials program participants can receive the training. They now offer face to face training to back up their training services that are available in print and online. These in-person training sessions were launched about 6 months ago, and more than 10 thousand people have attended them.
Time Warner Cable shares Comcast’s goal of getting the nation connected to the extent that all Americans are subscribing to broadband service, and they have started a good deal of initiatives that will increase people’s access. With their program “Start Internet,” they’ve been able to connect over 300 thousand students to low-cost broadband.
The company is also working to promote scholarship that will back this new policy by releasing research papers that examine different strategies for broadband adoption in addition to its benefits for different communities. For example, they released a study that focused on the factors that influence Latinos to adopt broadband as well as one that showed broadband’s role in fostering employment and economic opportunity in African American communities.
By connecting one person at a time, broadband providers are slowly but surely bridging the gap.