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Impact of Broadband Cost on Sustainable Adoption

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Description: One of the barriers to broadband adoption identified by the National Broadband Plan is cost. Well recognized as an expert in broadband deployment, Jim Baller will moderate an open mic discussion of cost as a significant barrier to broadband adoption. 


Time: Monday 1:30-2:30


Location: Ballroom 


Facilitator: Jim Baller, Baller Group




Where are we and where do we need to go?

- Pew Research - Access, digital literacy, access to equipment, costs, and relavance


1. What do we know about cost and releavance?

- challenge in defining the problem

- What do we mean by "cost opportunity"?

- What are the features, what are the different models

- is there an absolute or relative cost?


CBAIS Participant's Input

- Providers that are willing to co-invest are essential

- Mobile broadband - is a mobile broadband subscriber an SBA?

- Continuum of use - Moving people along the adoption continuum from community connector to home connector (growth models)

- Bringing costs down

- Wireless carriers/air-cards are potential avenue for the future


Problems - cost/access 

- Neighbors sharing a single connection (challenge to Telco's EULAs)

- rural areas - lack connectivity, lack of competition

- Telco's and service providers have challenges with customer's with deliquent accounts (solutions for low cost broadband are limiting by customer's past account history)

- Senior Citizens are not eligible for telco programs that are geared to school aged children (example of comcast program in San Francisco)

- need to define "cost" - need a common vocabulary

- Property Owners make a deal with a telco and provide exclusive solution to their residents (MDU exclusivity)

- Having the proper identification is a challenge (drivers license, passport, US Gov. ID)

- E-Rate (complex challenges in the universal services fund and ISP charges)

- Examples from Taiwan - government pushes for low prices from telcos, Telcos are required to be part of the nation's adoption strategy

- If we were talking about high capacity broadband, we would identify similar challenges (same dialog, different focus)

- challenge in bundling Internet and VoIP - costs are prohibitive

- Costs for Internet escalate once the "deal" has expired

- What is the perceived value?




2. What conditions or circumstances are necessary for different environments?

- Do families with school aged children value access more than families without children?

- Is cost really a problem or is there an other underlying problems?



3. What options are available to address the cost problems?

Is there opportunities for repurposing Universal Services to support broadband?

- Are there community broadband strategies?


- Redefine what low and moderate income really means

- Open Mesh strategies in public housing units

- Expand Lifeline/Linkup - Universal Services fund - change the rules

- Lifeline/Linkup Pilots are being coordinated now

- Municipal Wifi - entry point for the under-served communities

- Tethering cellphones -

- Educate people on how to save money through various online activities (financial literacy paired with Digital literacy)

- As telcos move to fiber, repurpose existing copper infrastructure to provide community access

- As the cost of Consumer Premesis equipment declines (aircards, mifi, etc...) the opportunities to create "disposable" access should drive down costs.  Paired with a debit or credit card, telco's should be able to reduce the HR necessary for handling billing and lower costs associated with deploying a truck to connect a household.


Contributing Solutions - lower the effective cost of broadband (Broadband Cost Innovative Solutions)




4. What are the policy options?

- How do we translate the most promising solutions into policies?


Blog post from this session at somewhereonthebridge.wordpress.com



Comments (4)

Connect Your Community said

at 2:11 pm on Jun 27, 2011

Notes Taken n the flip board:

Jim Baller Talk

...A Moment in time

5 Challenges
Digital Literacy
Cost vs. Relevance

" Cost Opportunity"
Identify the conditions and circumstances in which it occurs
What options are available to address
Policy options - how do we translate the most promising things into policy at the federal/local level

Vendors? - assisting communities
Cost of mobile?
Continuum? - someone who moves along the adoption continuum but does not have home service.
We must look beyond counting home connections

Myth of local affordability
Splitting cost - "I can't afford on my own"
Lack of competition - rural, local, city, neighborhood
Past Due charges - multiple providers - cutting service for those unable to pay full bill
Eligibility limits
Provider programs too narrow (school-aged children only)
Terminology is an issue - what does the term "broadband cost" mean??
Building owners will strike a "deal" with a provider - which excludes some who can't get access to the service for one reason or another - issues with exclusivity
Subscriber credentials - some can't get proper ID, passport ect.

Connect Your Community said

at 2:23 pm on Jun 27, 2011

Database of access points in a neighborhood
Taiwan-telcom providers encouraged to lower price/be partner of PCC (different from the U.S.)
Installation fees on the front end is too expensive for low income families
Ongoing maintenance of Internet - cost of viruses ect...
Families with kids are more motivated to be connected

Amy Luckey said

at 2:31 pm on Jun 27, 2011

Following the last point - that we can teach people how using the Internet can save them $: I believe CETF's BTOP program includes a resource along the lines of "10 ways to save money online" - perhaps they would share this with other BTOP grantees.

Connect Your Community said

at 2:38 pm on Jun 27, 2011

Need to redefine the notion of "low-cost/affordability
Wireless mesh (ad hoc)
Lifeline Link-up - rules must change
Municipal wifi - the next utility
Tethering -incumbents battling

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