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40 Acres and a Good Broadband Connection

  • Broadcast in Internet



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In the 1860s, the progressive thinkers of the time felt that giving newly freed people their own land and leading edge technology – in this case, a mule – would jump start the poor on a journey to a better life. 150 years later, we are dealing with similar issues as we try to bridge the economic gap with the leading edge technology of our time – broadband. Will we find our way this time?

Colin Rhinesmith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at University of Oklahoma, and Brian Whitacre, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University conducted excessive research on how to get better broadband adoption rates within low-income, seniors and youth populations. They join us to discuss their findings and explore options for getting these populations on board with broadband.

Rhinesmith and Whitacre describe one category of people who don’t use broadband as the Un-Adopters, and present why policymakers and federal agencies that fund broadband must develop strategies for addressing Un-Adopters. They address this category in the context of non-adopters, and the country overall.

We also will explore the downside of leaving Un-Adopters un-served. Could the cost of getting these constituents on board with broadband be better spent in other ways given how small the segments is? Given the effort of getting un-adopters and non- doctors to use broadband, what are some of the downsides and upsides if we are successful? Our guests present compelling reasons why policymakers must not leave these constituents out in the cold.