White Papers

Closing the Digital Divide

Promoting Broadband Adoption Among Underserved Populations

Categorized Under: Community Development



In this white paper, ICF International experts, in partnership with the National League of Cities (NLC), examine the challenges and benefits of broadband adoption as well as summarize current efforts to address these challenges at the U.S. federal, state, and local levels and in the private sector.

The National Broadband Plan has a stated goal that the United States achieve an Internet adoption rate of 90 percent by 2020. According to a 2011 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 66 percent of American adults have broadband Internet at home. The survey also found that about 15 percent of adults do not use the Internet at all; those in this 15 percent rate are also more likely to be minorities, low-income, disabled, elderly, or living in rural areas. As an increasingly diverse array of essential resources are moved online, failure to address the lower levels of adoption among these groups may cause them to fall behind economically, socially, and politically. Many U.S. federal, state, and local programs are working to increase adoption rates in these hard-to-serve demographic groups.

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Authored By

  • Katherine Bates

    Project ManagerICF International

    Katherine Bates has 20 years of experience in managing and leading U.S. federal, state, and local government programs addressing a wide array of subjects, including community and economic development, affordable housing development, and information technology infrastructure, public finance, and disaster preparedness and management. Her areas of expertise encompass policy and program analysis, research, and marketing.

    Ms. Bates has a master's degree in Public Administration and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

  • Lara Malakoff

    Senior Associate ICF International

    Lara Malakoff supports ICF's broadband business, economic development, and citizen engagement efforts. She has led a broadband economic impact and feasibility study in rural Washington State and provides training and technical assistance to two states under the State Broadband Initiative (SBI). Ms. Malakoff also provides technical assistance and capacity-building support to the Office of Community Services for the federal Community and Economic Development program.

    Ms. Malakoff has a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a B.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from The George Washington University.

  • Julia Pulidindi

    Senior AssociateThe National League of Cities

    Julia Pulidindi has been with the National League of Cities (NLC) for 7 years and has worked on a variety of policy issues, including public finance, transportation, and telecommunications in addition to staffing the Large Cities Council. At NLC's Center for Research and Innovation, Ms. Pulidindi focuses on transportation and telecommunications infrastructure.

    Ms. Pulidindi has a master's degree in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and a bachelor's degree in Financial Economics from Richmond College, the American International University in London.

Insight Details

Published: Nov 26, 2012
Katherine Bates, Lara Malakoff (ICF); Julia Pulidindi (NLC); Stephen Kane

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