Apple tablet comes at good time in push for broadband expansion initiatives

But the tablet may not do much for the adoption side of things. Most Apple users are tech-savvy folks who have long been hooked up to the Internet. And Apple products aren't cheap. So it probably won't be the silver bullet needed to convince unserved consumers to log on to the Internet.

Nonetheless, as we saw at the Consumer Electronics Show, smaller, more portable devices are in demand. Just as mobile phones have become gateways to the Internet for many underserved communities, handheld tablets and net-books could spur broadband adoption as they go mainstream (and come down in price.)