Cost must be removed as a barrier for residents to have access to and effectively use the communications technologies they need

As discussed under Key Question #2, affordability is a significant determinant in whether someone can and will adopt communications technology.

In the Scientific Residential Survey, when asked what are the one or two communications products or services that they don’t have but really need, 82% of respondents indicated that they had everything they needed. The remaining 18% indicated a variety of communications technologies they would like to have now or in the near future, including affordable Internet, higher speed Internet/broadband, basic Internet service, and a cell/mobile phone. Households in this group earned less than $35,000 a year. 

In the Qualitative Public Survey, far more respondents (at 54%) indicated they did not have what they need, with the highest being affordable Internet (28%), high/higher speed Internet/broadband (16%) and connections to home security/heat/ac/” nest” at 10%. This was followed by television/cable TV service at 7% and the need for a variety of devices from cell/mobile phones to other wireless device/smartphone/tablet ranging from 2% to 4% of the respondents. Six percent (6%) of respondents said “Other” and responses ranged from choices in service providers to needs for services, applications, and content availability.

Adding to the findings under Key Question #2 concerning cost as the primary barrier to technology use and adoption, for respondents who identified they needed a technology they didn’t have, in both the Scientific Residential Survey and the Qualitative Public Survey, cost/affordability was the number one barrier to obtaining those technologies (49% of Scientific Survey respondents identified cost, followed by lack of available options/choices at 8%). For the Qualitative Public Survey respondents, cost again was the number one barrier (50%). For those who specified a technology they really needed, cost was even a higher barrier at 76%.

Chart 2: Reasons or Barriers Keeping You from Getting or Using Technologies You Don’t Have Now