On March 3, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) released the findings of the SSRC report 'Broadband Adoption In Low-Income Communities', at an event hosted by the American Library Association (ALA). Main Street Project, Media Literacy Project and Media Mobilizing Project–members of the Media Action Grassroots Network–played a key role in the study, setting up over 100 community interviews with organizations and individuals who struggle with Internet access.

The FCC commissioned the study to help inform their understanding of barriers to broadband adoption and to shape the National Broadband Plan due to Congress on March 17 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  While 65% of U.S. adults have broadband access in the home, the 35% that don’t are primarily people of color, rural, poor, migrants and refugees, and people who speak languages other than English.  These communities face significant barriers to education, economic opportunity, access to services, and democratic participation, due to their lack of access.  Full broadband adoption would help to level the playing field for our communities, and create new platforms for our voices to be heard

Press play to see a photo-essay of the MAG-Net communities that were visited and the community members interviewed.


By partnering with researchers from Deep Tech, and the SSRC, our Network ensured the voices of the most marginalized communities were central to the shaping of the National Broadband Plan.  Not surprisingly, the study identified a variety of barriers such as price, skill, and language barriers as key challenges to broadband.  As a media justice network, we believe we must transform media and cultural content, conditions, and policies in the service of social justice and human rights from the ground up.  This study was an important part of our process.

In the video below, presenters, Dharma Dailey and Amelia Bryne discuss the contexts for understanding barriers to broadband adoption.



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