• Gabrielle Grieco

If You Build It, Will They Come?


The Digital Divide is both an availability problem and an adoption problem. According to a study conducted by ACA Connects, approximately 12 million households do not have access to the FCC’s current definition of broadband service (25/3 Mbps), while 30 million do not subscribe to such services when they are available.


Our Fall 2021 Interactive Case Competition (Closing the Digital Divide Part II) tasks students

with addressing solutions to many aspects of the digital divide, including the broadband

adoption gap. This issue is pressing during a time where individuals must rely on high-speed

internet access for employment and education. The broadband adoption gap raises the

question: why are people reluctant to adopt broadband service?


For $61-$118 billion, the U.S. could make gigabit speed available to 19 million locations that

currently have less than 100/20 Mbps service and substantially increase broadband adoption,

according to the ACA report, based upon research by Cartesian. This funding would assist

those who may have access to broadband but are reluctant to adopt it. The adoption gap is

comprehensively a financial matter.


The study found:

- Rural and non-rural areas stand almost equally in the broadband adoption gap. While

geography does not change the rates of adoption, income and age are both correlated

with the broadband adoption gap.

- 36% of all households without a fixed broadband connection make below

$20k/yr.

- Adoption is approx. 28% in areas without senior citizens.



Focusing on the adoption gap is vital since billions in public and private money is being

committed to building out broadband connectivity. The Digital Divide will remain intact if people don’t connect to the Internet even when it becomes available to them.


To address the adoption gap, our five fall student teams are developing Future of Broadband Marketing Plans. On November 18, they will present their plans online before a Judges Panel of leading executives who will award prize money to their selection of three top teams. The audience will vote for their winner of the Audience Choice Award. The competition is made possible by sponsors, supporting organizations, and donors whose contributions reward the students and support their education.


Anyone who wishes to attend the free event can join here: Click on the RSVP button and join us to witness firsthand the future of broadband!