NCTA Emphasizing Adoption, Training Aspect of Broadband Rollout
By: John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association continues to emphasize the adoption and training side of the broadband rollout.
NCTA sent a letter last week in support of the Community College Technology Access Act of 2009, pledging to work for its passage.
The bill was introduced in April, but its theme dovetails with NCTA's current push for more broadband training and adoption efforts as part of its grand broadband plan.
The bill would provide government funding--$625 million over the next five years--to open community colleges to members of the public who want to improve their computer skills.
In his letter of support to bill sponsor John Larson (D-Conn.), NCTA President Kyle McSlarrow points out that the cable industry has invested $100 billion in broadband and has made high-speed Internet service available to 92% of the country.
McSlarrow said that depite that "ubiquity," barriers remain, including lack of computer access and education. "[Y]our bill rightly focuses on encouraging broadband adoption not only by empowering community colleges to provide community access to computer technology, but also by offering the training necessary to allow individuals to realize the value of Internet technology and to take full advantage of it."
The FCC, the National Telecommunications & Information Administraion and the Agriculture Department are all working on plans and funding proposals to make Internet access ubiquitous and close the gap between access and adoption for those who can already get broadband.