When I was the Executive Director of the Ohio Community Computing Network (2000-2006), I was often questioned about the future usefullness of our services. The argument was that soon computers would be so cheap everyone would have one so why was a public computer center necessary? Our response focused upon the importance of training in a community setting and the fact that computer ownership will always be out of reach for some.
Fast forward to today. The necessity for community based technology training has not changed much. Yes, computers are cheap.
Yes, more people have them in their homes. Why then, in 2010, were only 67% of whites and 56% of African-Americans broadband users? Because a computer is cheap does not assume ease of use, affordability of broadband or even availability of broadband.
On Sunday I head to Cleveland for the Community Broadband Adoption Impact & Sustainability (CBAIS) Conference. I've been helping OneCommunity organize the conference. Sustainable Broadband Adoption and Public Computing Center projects funded by the Broadband Technology Oppportuniites Program will gather to discuss how we are reducing the barriers to broadband use and all the issues that accompany those attempts.
I'll be live blogging as often as I can during the conference. The frequency of the live blogging will be a clear indication of the logistical and organizational responsibilties I am or am not able to delegate. :-)