Because every American
should have access
to broadband Internet.

The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.


Where Access Meets Demand

Digital DivideAlthough the majority of Americans now have access to broadband, too many minorities, non-English speaking populations, and members of low income and rural communities remain disconnected.

Addressing this digital divide goes beyond providing access to those without it. America must do more to ensure that those who are disconnected understand the need and value that broadband can bring to their lives — whether it is furthering an education, finding employment, accessing health care, or simply paying a bill.

Further Reading

Special Reports Home Broadband Adoption 2009: Broadband adoption increases, but monthly prices do too.

Home broadband adoption stood at 63% of adult Americans as of April 2009, up from 55% in May, 2008. 

The latest findings of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project mark a departure from the stagnation in home high-speed adoption rates that had prevailed from December, 2007 through December, 2008. During that period, Project surveys found that home broadband penetration remained in a narrow range between 54% and 57%.

The greatest growth in broadband adoption in the past year has taken place among population subgroups which have below average usage rates. Among them:

  • Senior citizens: Broadband usage among adults ages 65 or older grew from 19% in May, 2008 to 30% in April, 2009.
  • Low-income Americans: Two groups of low-income Americans saw strong broadband growth from 2008 to 2009.
  • Respondents living in households whose annual household income is $20,000 or less, saw broadband adoption grow from 25% in 2008 to 35% in 2009.
  • Respondents living in households whose annual incomes are between $20,000 and $30,000 annually experienced a growth in broadband penetration from 42% to 53%.

Overall, respondents reporting that they live in homes with annual household incomes below $30,000 experienced a 34% growth in home broadband adoption from 2008 to 2009.

  • High-school graduates: Among adults whose highest level of educational attainment is a high school degree, broadband adoption grew from 40% in 2008 to 52% in 2009.
  • Older baby boomers: Among adults ages 50-64, broadband usage increased from 50% in 2008 to 61% in 2009.
  • Rural Americans: Adults living in rural America had home high-speed usage grow from 38% in 2008 to 46% in 2009.

Population subgroups that have above average usage rates saw more modest increases during this time period.

  • Upper income Americans: Adults who reported annual household incomes over $75,000 had broadband adoption rate change from 84% in 2008 to 85% in 2009.
  • College graduates: Adults with a college degree (or more) saw their home high- speed usage grow from 79% in 2008 to 83% in 2009.

Notably, African Americans experienced their second consecutive year of broadband adoption growth that was below average.

  • In 2009, 46% of African Americans had broadband at home.
  • This compares with 43% in 2008.
  • In 2007, 40% of African Americans had broadband at home.

The Pew Internet Project’s April 2009 survey interviewed 2,253 Americans, with 561 interviewed on their cell phones.

Read more: Broadband_Adoption_and_Pricing_Pew_Internet_62009.pdf

Special Reports Innovation and National Broadband Policies: Facts, Fiction and Unanswered Questions

Larry F. Darby
Joseph P. Fuhr Jr.

“Innovation” has emerged as a pivotal element in the debate over whetherthe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should impose newconstraints on managers and providers of broadband network infrastructures. This study brings to bear facts and analysis emergingfrom a review of much of the literature on innovation and especiallythat bearing on claims by advocates of “net neutrality,” “open networks”and related notions.

We find that innovation is thriving at both the core and the edge of thenetwork in the current policy environment, which has fundamentallyallowed the Internet to evolve with little government involvement.Further, we find no evidence that greater FCC involvement in markets forbroadband services would protect or promote innovation in the InternetEcosystem. Indeed, we believe that such intervention is more likely todiscourage innovation than to stimulate it. In addressing these issues,the study finds and presents support for the following conclusions:

  • Responding to incentives and opportunities availed within the prevailing scheme of regulatory forbearance, network infrastructure providers have compiled an impressive record of innovation reflected in a cascade of new transmission and switching technologies; new local distribution and devices; an impressive array of new services; dramatically increased functionality; and adoption of creative business practices tailored to the changing topology of networks;

  • By any reasonable assessment, core cable, wireline and wireless networks reflect enormous historical and ongoing innovation as marked by the adoption of new technologies, incorporation of advanced equipment
    and software, expansion and improvement of services offerings, and the introduction/diffusion of new business models;

  • Presence of pervasive complementarities among services dictates that core innovations in network platforms have enabled, encouraged and increased the value of important edge innovations that would otherwise
    have been impossible;

  • While good and unambiguous measures of innovation are often lacking, there is an undeniable link between diffusion of network innovation and the enormous network investments now being made by
    broadband infrastructure providers;

  • Many of the innovations now apparent at the edge reflect investment and business model applications of services first introduced by Internet
    Service Providers at very early stages of the development of the Internet;

  • Imposing common carrier type regulation on network providers would diminish network providers incentives and opportunities to continue historic trends in innovation and investment;

  • There is no analysis or data in the literatures on innovation and regulation to prove claims that the proposed net neutrality rules would on balance promote innovation in the Internet Ecosystem;

  • Net neutrality proponents incorrectly characterize the incidence of innovation activities and accomplishments, particularly with respect to core v. edge innovation; and

  • The proposed net neutrality rules might be expected to reduce innovation in broadband networks and those that would be enabled at the edge. They would do so to the extent that new constraints on broadband
    network providers would increase uncertainty and risk, reduce prospects for growth, and undermine network managers’ incentives and opportunities to adapt to rapidly changing technical and economic conditions in the
    Internet Ecosystem.

  • This study finds no support in theories of innovation, innovation practice, or reviews of numerous empirical studies, of drivers of and constraints on innovation, for the main contentions of net neutrality supporters. Available data and analysis do not establish: a) the absence of network innovation in general; b) the primacy of innovation at the edge over the core; or most importantly; c) that greater ex ante regulation of markets for broadband infrastructure is needed, or can reasonably be expected to increase the rate of innovation and consumer welfare creation by network providers and elsewhere in the Internet Ecosystem.

    Our review finds no significant market failure attributable to insufficient innovation by network providers or superior innovation outside network infrastructures. As to the need for new regulations, the public interest would be well served were the Commission to heed the wisdom of Hippocrates: “First, do no harm!”


    Read more: Innovation_and_National_BB_policies_3210.pdf

    Special Reports Digital Nation: 21st Century America’s Progress Toward Universal Broadband Internet Access

    During the first decade of the 21st Century, U.S. broadband Internet connectivity by households has increased dramatically as its importance to our economy and way of life has grown. Based on a survey of over 50,000 households commissioned by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and conducted by the United States Census Bureau, virtually all demographic groups have increased their adoption of broadband services at home over time. The data also reveal that demographic disparities among groups have persisted over time. Persons with high incomes, those who are younger, Asians and Whites, the more highly- educated, married couples, and the employed tend to have higher rates of broadband use at home. Conversely, persons with low incomes, seniors, minorities, the less-educated, non-family households, and the non-employed tend to lag behind other groups in home broadband use. 

    Survey results demonstrate that persons in rural areas are less likely to use the Internet. For example, Blacks and Hispanics in rural areas exhibit a lesser propensity to use broadband than their counterparts in urban areas. A substantial difference in home broadband penetration remains between urban and rural areas. Although the gap has declined since 2007, it still is significant. 

    Despite the growing importance of the Internet in American life, over 30 percent of households and 35 percent of persons do not use the Internet at home, and 30 percent of all persons do not use the Internet anywhere. Those with no broadband access at home amount to more than 35 percent of all households and approximately 40 percent of all persons, with a larger proportion in rural areas in both categories.  Overall, the two most important reasons given by survey respondents for not having broadband access at home are “don’t need” and “too expensive.”1 Inadequate or no computer is also a major reason given for no home broadband adoption. In rural America, lack of availability is a much more important reason for non-adoption than in urban areas. 

    The U.S. Department of Commerce will undertake a more detailed analysis later this year when the full data base becomes available, and anticipates sponsoring new collections of Census data and conducting analyses of these data bases. We also will look forward to the findings that the broader research community will provide based on this data.

    Read more: Progress_Toward_Universal_Access_NTIA_22010.pdf

    Special Reports National Minority Broadband Adoption: Comparative Trends in Adoption, Acceptance and Use

    More than 75% of Americans, across racial and ethnic groups, now use the Internet on a regular basis.  Seventy-nine percent of Whites, 69% of African Americans, 59% of Hispanics, and more than 83% of other racial and ethnic minorities, including Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, Native Americans, and multiracial Americans are now online.

    Between December 2009 and January 2010, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies conducted a study of 2,741 respondents, oversampling African Americans and Hispanics, to understand national minority broadband adoption trends, and examine broadband adoption and use between and within minority groups.  This report addresses the experiences of minority consumers of wireline and mobile broadband services and provides insights into some of the factors affecting the decisions of minorities who have adopted broadband.

    Overcoming disparities in broadband Internet access depends in large part on identifying key factors that are most likely to influence the behaviors of potential users.  To achieve universal access, ensuring that all citizens have access to high-speed connections to the Internet is paramount to opening the door to greater use and acceptance of the Internet in all aspects of our lives.  However, research primarily focused on broadband adoption, to the exclusion of the discrete circumstances surrounding it, is not enough to accelerate minority acceptance and use, especially since educational status, income, and age are critical factors impacting the degree and quality of engagement.

    In addition to providing trend data on minority broadband adoption and use, this report goes a step further—it offers a research frame- work for understanding the behaviors affecting broadband acceptance.  Specifically, this report contrasts the socioeconomic profile of minorities actively using the Internet against that of minorities who have yet to integrate the Internet into their daily lives.

    One of the major findings of this study is that minority groups, middle-aged, higher income, and college-educated individuals are the fastest growing group of broadband adopters.  These individuals have greater levels of Internet use and home broadband adoption.

    - 91% of African Americans earning more than $50,000 regularly use the Internet as compared to 89% of Hispanics earning $50,000. More than 75% each of African Americans and Hispanics earning between $20,000 and $50,000 also report regular use of the Internet.

    - 98% of Hispanics and 94% of African Americans with a college education report regular Internet use and over 80% of respondents from each group with some college are regular Internet users.

    - 82% of Hispanics and 79% of African Americans earning more than $50,000 report a home broadband connection.  More than 60% each of African Americans and Hispanics, with annual incomes between $20,000 and $50,000, also report having a home-based broadband connection.

    Read more: Minority_Broadband_Adoption_Joint_Center_22010.pdf

    Special Reports Broadband Internet Access and the Digital Divide: Federal Assistance Programs

    The “digital divide” is a term that has been used to characterize a gap between “information haves
    and have-nots,” or in other words, between those Americans who use or have access to
    telecommunications technologies (e.g., telephones, computers, the Internet) and those who do
    not. One important subset of the digital divide debate concerns high-speed Internet access and
    advanced telecommunications services, also known as broadband. Broadband is provided by a
    series of technologies (e.g., cable, telephone wire, fiber, satellite, wireless) that give users the
    ability to send and receive data at volumes and speeds far greater than traditional “dial-up”
    Internet access over telephone lines.

    Read more: Kruger_Gilroy_RL30719.pdf

    Op-Eds As Washington Wakes Up to Broadband, Adoption and Availability Must Be Addressed

    To paraphrase Mark Twain, for the past decade, there has been a lot of talk in Washington about broadband, but no one has done much about it. That changes today, as the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Communications Commission will explain how the Obama administration intends to use the provisions of the stimulus bill to ensure that broadband technologies are available to, and affordable for, every American.

    Read op-ed

    Special Reports National Leaders Must Tap Internet To Fight Poverty In The U.S.

    Taking Government Run Programs Online Can Save Billions and Multiply Number Aided Shows New Paper from Harvard Professor Elaine C. Kamarck, PhD WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 11, 2008 – The Internet will be the catalyst for advancement of programs promoting social justice over the next decade, according to new research from Harvard Professor Elaine…

    Read more: 1110_08KamarckExecutiveSummary_.pdf