Those that do not have broadband access wonder why so much emphasis is placed on availability, and why Internet access is so important. With broadband adoption rates at 65%, a large percentage of people simply choose not to subscribe. Availability is only a small part of the problem, with most people reporting an ability to subscribe to broadband, but cost, knowledge, or a low perception of need holding them back. Compounding the issue is the fact that non-adopters say they do not see themselves subscribing in the future. In fact, nine of ten non-adopters say they are simply not interested in getting online.
Just like the saying, you don’t know what you don’t know, broadband non-adopters don’t see the relevance of the Internet to their lives, and don’t see a need to subscribe. This is particularly true in rural areas, where access is a problem.
There are compelling reasons to have broadband access, and the Internet is fast becoming a necessity of everyday lie, much like electricity was in the 1930’s. What are these reasons, and why is broadband so important?Strategies for using broadband for national initiatives in the National Broadband Plan
There is no doubt we live in an information society, and broadband puts all types of information within a few keystrokes away. Whether this is training for a new skill, a new language, or completing an online course – broadband facilitates the access of information in many different forms.Economic Development
Businesses need broadband to compete on a global level, and seek out high speed broadband access when choosing to grow their business. High speed access accelerates business development, and provides new opportunities for innovation, expansion, and e-commerce. Communities that connect their residents create wealth and attract business investments.Public Safety
Broadband enables interoperable broadband public safety networks, which connect first responders in an emergency, and allow emergency workers to communicate across disparate networks, between jurisdictions, and across different agencies – critical capabilities at the scene of an emergency. Police, fire, and emergency medical personnel can react to crises quickly, fostering cooperation among numerous public safety agencies.
High speed Internet improves victim to responder communications by enabling instantaneous digital transmissions to and from members of a connected community.Healthcare
Telemedicine has become an important element of efficient healthcare delivery, which promotes better patient care, and even saves lives. With medical costs rising, and the availability of insurance limited, the cost saving benefits of telemedicine are also important.
Broadband facilitates efficiency in healthcare delivery and creates opportunities for doctors and healthcare specialists to work together as a virtual team – with specialists located in any part of the world. A family practitioner in a small rural town can send medical images of a patient, to a specialist in any part of the world for an instant expert consultation. Test results from a hospital emergency room or laboratory can be sent to radiologist or doctor in seconds, making rapid diagnosis a reality.
Doctors are also now sending prescriptions directly from their offices to pharmacies, greatly reducing errors, with automatic checking for interactions.Education
Broadband Internet access levels the playing field when it comes to educational resources. Children in inner city neighborhood, affluent homes, and farm communities can all access the same resources. Textbook materials can be complemented with online resources, and children can access all of these materials from school and home.Communications
Being digitally connected means communications can improve people’s lives on the job, in their personal lives, and unite people with disabilities. Broadband empowers people with disabilities and removes barriers that keep them from participating in everyday activities.Telecommuting
Broadband enables people to work from home, saving time and expenses. Employers have been encouraging this concept to save overhead expenses and improve employee satisfaction.SmartGrid
SmartGrid technology enables homeowners to monitor energy usage in real time, and adjust usage patterns to save energy costs and aid in conservation efforts