NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

Digital Divide

Expanding Access and Opportunity

Today, an internet connection is a must-have for school assignments, healthcare, communicating with friends, finding a job, and starting a business. While broadband service is now available to most Americans, too many families remain unconnected to this important network. The cable industry is committed to closing this digital divide by promoting the benefits of broadband, encouraging families to connect, and by offering programs that help families overcome barriers they may face.

Committed to Getting Everyone Connected

See how a low-cost internet program transformed this family's life.

280
M+
Americans have access to low-income broadband programs
14
M+
people connected through low-cost broadband adoption programs
85
%
U.S. homes where cable ISPs offer low-cost programs
130
K
computers subsidized by cable ISPs for low-income households

Ways to Encourage Internet Adoption

Encouraging people to get broadband service at home is about more than just availability. There are barriers for families to adopt broadband, so a comprehensive approach is needed to get more people online.

Low-Cost Programs

The cable industry has invested millions in broadband adoption programs over the years to provide discounted Internet services as well as computers and hardware to qualifying families. With the recent implementation of the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), ISPs have rolled out new internet plans throughout their service areas, allowing qualifying households to get free internet service after redemption of their ACP benefit. Interested families can find out if they qualify for the ACP benefit from the new federal government website GetInternet.gov.

Make It Relevant

Many people who do not have home Internet access question its relevance. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 Current Population Survey, 64% cite lack of need or interest and fear of the internet as a reason they don't subscribe. Through public information campaigns and partnerships, the cable industry is helping families understand the impact broadband can have on their lives and communities. 

Digital Literacy Training

One of the primary barriers to broadband adoption is the absence of digital literacy skills. Many people are intimidated by new, unfamiliar technologies and don’t know how to use the internet to find information or connect with friends. To help families overcome these challenges, the cable industry partners with a wide variety of national organizations and local community groups to offer digital literacy classes that explore the benefits of being online and teach skills to safely use the Internet.

Affordable Internet for All Americans

Cable ISPs now offer free internet plans for qualifying households via the American Connectivity Program.

Connecting More Americans to the Internet

Every year, more and more families are discovering the importance of an internet connection at home. Through awareness, education, broadband adoption programs, and an ever-growing network, more people are connected to the Internet than ever before.

Percentage of Households with Access to Broadband
Source: NCTA estimate based on industry data