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FCC Targets Broadband Adoption

October 12, 2011

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced a new agency push to get Americans connected to high-speed Internet in a speech Wednesday at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

He said the concern is that even when Americans have access to broadband service, many fail to adopt the technology. One-third of all Americans--100 million people--don't have broadband at home, according to Genachowski.

A lack of "digital literacy," he said, is a main reason many people don't adopt the technology. To fight that issue, the agency helped secure a commitments from nearly a dozen companies to train people in technology skills.

For instance, Microsoft will offer training for its software products in schools, libraries and community colleges. Best Buy promised to offer basic technology training in 20 cities over the next year.

Genachowski framed the effort as once piece of a much larger puzzle.

"No single program or actor alone - government, nonprofit, or private sector - can solve this national challenge. It will take all of the above, playing smart, mutually re-enforcing roles, acting boldly for both the near-term and long-term, and building on the increasing volume of best practices and data," he said.

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