Issue Overview

Closing the Digital Divide

High-speed Internet service, commonly called broadband, has become an essential link for achieving a quality education, finding a job, conducting business and competing in the global marketplace. As the nation's largest providers offering broadband service to 93 percent of U.S. households, cable companies understand how connectivity can empower, educate and open new opportunities.

While broadband Internet access is available to most Americans, too many citizens remain unconnected. Those who don’t subscribe say they don’t understand the Internet’s relevance, don’t know how it works or don’t have a computer. The only way to close the broadband gap is to hit these factors head on.

Cable’s $210 billion network infrastructure investment since 1996 has helped bring fast, affordable and accessible broadband service to nearly all Americans. And cable companies across America have embarked in community partnerships and other projects to reach those who remain unconnected. From building the next-generation network in isolated villages in Alaska to offering refurbished computers to low-income families in northwest Minnesota to offering discounted service to low-income families, cable companies are working all over the US to expand the availability of broadband service.

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Our Position

Countdown

Four Steps to Promoting Internet Adoption

  • 1

    Reveal the Internet's Relevance

    19% of non-adopters do not have broadband because they question its relevance to their lives. Programs such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) or Project GOAL (Getting Older Adults Online) have partnered with cable to train underserved communities in the hopes of helping the underserved understand the potential cable’s technologies can have in their community and lives.

  • 2

    Assist with Digital Training

    22% of non-adopters point to a lack of digital literacy as the main reason they are not online. Organizations like One Economy and Comcast Digital Connectors have initiated programs that provide households with free training for cable and Internet technologies.

  • 3

    Help with hardware access

    Many non-adopters are concerned about acquiring the hardware they need to get online or are intimidated by new technologies. Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox Communications and Cablevision are just a few providers that offer discounted or free hardware to low-income communities.

  • 4

    Help with Costs

    Fear of high monthly bills or costs associated with hardware serve as barriers to adoption for many non-subscribers. The cable industry’s initiative Connect2Compete has partnered with policy makers in Washington to create adoption programs that assist with the cost of cable services so that more Americans can get connected.

Assessment

FACT
49.7

million consumers choose cable broadband

FACT
105

million: Number of American homes with access to ultra-fast networks that offer speeds of 50 to 100 Mbps or faster

FACT
$210

billion: Investment by cable industry in the expansion of the US’s extensive fiber-rich national broadband network

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