According to data from Connected Nation, state, local and national leaders must focus more attention on the consumer side of America’s broadband challenge. The nonprofit organization expands access to and use of the Internet and organization related technologies. U.S. Rep. and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., came together with Connected Nation at the “Digital Pathways to U.S. Economic Recovery and Prosperity” summit.

“I am optimistic about the level of investment that will be made in making broadband available to Americans,” said Bill Kennard, co-chairman of the summit, and former technology adviser to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. “However, we must consider the ways that we can account for the inclusion of those who are most at risk because they are least likely to use the technology available to them.”

Brian Mefford, Connected Nation chairman and CEO, delivered a summit keynote address and call to action for summit participants.

“Never before has the United States had such an opportunity for an economic return on investment as is available when we make broadband an infrastructure priority,” he said. “Together, we have to elevate the understanding of the transformative power of broadband, so that those who are the nation’s most vulnerable will not remain on the wrong side of the digital divide, therefore allowing for an economic impact of proportions never before possible in the history of our nation.”

The new Connected Nation report “Consumer Insights to America’s Broadband Challenge,” is the first in a series of consumer-side analyses based on interviews with more than 50,000 consumers across the nation’s heartland. The first release provides the following key insights:

• The largest barrier to broadband adoption is a lack of awareness about broadband’s benefits. Nearly one-half (44 percent) of those with no home broadband connection say, “I don’t need broadband.”

• Likewise, the top barrier to computer ownership also is a perceived lack of need. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of those who do not own a computer say, “I don’t need a computer.”

• Four out of 10 parents with children who are without a home computer see no need for having a computer in the home. And nearly one-third (30 percent) of parents with children who do not have a home broadband connection see no need for a broadband connection.

• Nearly one-fourth (24 percent) of those who do not own a computer cite the upfront cost as a barrier. Similarly, nearly one-fourth of those without a home broadband connection say broadband is too expensive.

• More than one-half (56 percent) of people with disabilities who do not own a computer see no need for having a computer in the home. Four out of 10 people with disabilities who do not have a home broadband connection see no need for a broadband connection.

• Close to one-half (42 percent) of rural residents without a home broadband connection say it is because they do not need broadband. This compares with 19 percent of these rural residents who say they do not subscribe

because broadband service is not available in their area. Twenty-two percent of these rural residents say broadband is too expensive.

To review the full report, visit www.connectednation.org.