In contrast, Republicans are skeptical of funding broadband deployment. Critics contend that building broadband lines is much more efficient when the private sector invests in the task, rather than the government, he said.
But people can come together on adoption, he said. The parties agree there is some need to increase adoption rates through digital literacy programs and by migrating federal telecom subsidies to pay broadband bills instead of phone service, he said.
He also emphasized that adoption is a pressing issue and many people have not begun using the technology. He cited a report on broadband adoption released Monday by the Commerce Department.
Some key takeaways from the report, according to the AP:
- It found that the percentage of households that connect to the Internet using broadband grew to 63.5 percent in 2009 from 9.2 percent in 2001, reflecting increases across nearly all demographics;
- 94.1 percent of households with income exceeding $100,000 subscribed to broadband in 2009, compared with 35.8 percent of households with income of less than $25,000;
- 84.5 percent of households with at least one college degree subscribed to broadband last year, compared with 28.8 percent of households without a high school degree;
- 77.3 percent of Asian-American households and 68 percent of non-Hispanic white households subscribed to broadband last year, compared with 49.4 percent of African-American households and 47.9 percent of Hispanic households; and
- 65.9 percent of urban households subscribed to broadband in 2009, compared with 51 percent of rural households.