Friday, October 14, 2016

Incumbent "fight the future" propaganda agenda: Keep calendar fixed at year 2000, lower expectations

Understanding the Broadband Adoption Gap | USTelecom: Some 26 million households (21 percent) are never online. To bring these remaining 33 million non-internet households online, price and affordability have been the more common levers that advocates and government have used. However, less than a quarter (24 percent) of the 33 million non-internet homes cite price as the main reason they don’t have access at home.

More than half (55 percent) of these non-internet households say they don’t need the internet or have no interest in Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Pandora and the myriad other apps and services available online. That’s more than twice the number of households that say they can’t afford internet services.

These digital “don’t cares” are a much tougher segment to address through industry and government programs focused on price and affordability. Instead, programs must also focus on demonstrating that internet is relevant and useful to these consumers. USTelecom supports programs aimed at closing the digital divide and bringing more Americans online. In recent comments to the Commerce Department, USTelecom suggested more research needs to be done on why consumers aren’t going online. Digital literacy is significantly under-studied and federal researchers should focus on those issues, ideally in partnership with experts who work with the unconnected.

This is more of the same tired incumbent propaganda aimed at keeping the calendar fixed circa 2000 when the Internet meant "going online" to visit websites and get email. Legacy incumbent telephone companies know that Internet protocol-based technology supports not only these services but also voice and video residential premise services. That however requires modernizing their infrastructures from metal wires to fiber optic lines to reliably deliver them -- something their CAPex averse business models won't allow.

That reality motivates their "fight the future" strategy designed to lower expectations and attempt to shift blame to tepid consumer demand when in fact America's telecommunications infrastructure deficiencies and disparities are due to market failure on the sell side. Closely related to keeping the focus on "broadband adoption" is the fixation on "broadband speeds." That supports a retro oriented mindset since having adequate bandwidth was necessary to access online services in the early days of the Internet as well as the unit-based, consumption billing models employed in the days of Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS).

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