Broadband Adoption in Low-Income Communities

Post updated 1/22

I thought this would be a Copy Culture week for me but it looks like it will also be a broadband regulation week.  So for those of you coming from this New York Times story about Comcast’s ‘Essentials’ program, which unexpectedly cast me as the main critic, here’s some background and  a few comments

I was part of a group asked by the FCC in 2009 to conduct a qualitative study of barriers to access to broadband in low-income communities.  This was intended to complement the FCC’s phone-survey-based study on access (phone surveys run into difficulties in reporting on low-income and minority populations, and the FCC was rightly concerned about this).  Both studies found that low-income communities were being consistently under served by broadband providers.  Our study also documented a wide array of ISP practices that made maintaining access particularly difficult in those communities, especially bait and switch tactics around pricing and hidden fees.  Continue reading “Broadband Adoption in Low-Income Communities”