The NewsDemon Blog

FCC Promotes US Broadband Initiative

By Newsgroup Usenet February 23rd, 2010


According to the latest study by the Federal Communications Commission, one in three people in the U.S. don’t have broadband connections. In fact, only a small minority of these 93 million Americans even use the Internet at all: some have dial-up connections and some use Web services at work or at public places like libraries, but most just abstain from the Internet entirely, according to USENET newsgroup reports that posted up the new US Commerce Department figures that reinforce what some educators believe is causing some students to fall behind.

The report posted on USENET newsgroups shows that the telephone survey of 5,005 adults last fall included 2,334 adults who said they are not broadband users at home and precedes the FCC’s delivery of a National Broadband Plan to Congress. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Feb. 16 he wants 100 million U.S. households to have access to ultra high-speed internet connections, with speeds of 100 megabits per second by the year 2020. That would be several times faster than the download speeds many U.S. homes with broadband get now, which range from 3 MBPS to 20 MBPS. One of the first steps towards overhauling the national broadband infrastructure will be the unveiling of a new broadband plan by the FCC on March 17. The FCC began working on the national broadband plan back in April 2009. The FCC is looking at multiple methods of funding a national broadband plan including reallocation of funds collected in the Universal Service Fund.

The Federal Communications Commission’s first-ever survey on Internet usage and attitudes concludes that those who aren’t connected today need to be taught how to navigate the Web, find online information that is valuable to them and avoid hazards such as Internet scams, something that has been a long standing resource that USENET newsgroups has also assisted with. The report found that 78% of adults are Internet users, and 65% of adults are broadband adopters. It then divides users who haven’t got broadband into four groups. The Digitally Distant make up 10% of the general population; this is the group that simply doesn’t want to be online. The Digital Hopefuls make up 8% of the population; they’d like to be online but lack resources to do so; many don’t have a computer and/or don’t know how to use one, and cost of computer and broadband connection is also a big barrier. An exact number of those who routinely use USENET newsgroups while they are online were not specified.

According to the report, nearly half of the respondents said cost was one of the prohibiting factors for not having broadband service at home. What’s more, nearly the same percentage of people said they were uncomfortable using a computer. The National Broadband Plan is expected to target widespread deployment of broadband networks, fueled in part by a revamp of the Universal Service Program that will emphasize broadband rather than voice connectivity, along with a plan to phase-out of traditional phone service, instead using the broadband network to support VOIP.