U.S Chamber Releases Study on the Importance of Broadband to People with Disabilities

Thursday, December 3, 2009 - 7:00pm

Offers Guidance to Policymakers on National Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today released a paper on The Impact of Broadband on People with Disabilities, as part of its series of studies detailing the benefits of broadband technology. The paper also offers guidance to policymakers as they examine broadband issues, including how to craft a national broadband plan and how to implement the broadband-related provisions in this year's economic stimulus bill.

"Broadband enables a range of social, economic, and health-related benefits to be delivered in an affordable, convenient, and effective manner," said William L. Kovacs, U.S. Chamber senior vice president for Environment, Technology, and Regulatory Affairs. "In particular, broadband and broadband-enabled technologies have the potential to greatly assist people with disabilities."

Over the past two years, the telecommunications industry has invested over $120 billion in broadband infrastructure. It will take up to $350 billion to make broadband universally available in the United States, according to the Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Task Force. Yet, even where broadband is available, a large number of people with disabilities remain offline for a variety of reasons, according to the study. Therefore, in addition to broadband availability, the paper also examines broadband awareness and demand, adoption, and use of broadband by people with disabilities. A broadband connection helps people with disabilities participate in a wide range of activities and pursuits, including employment opportunities, health-related research, and community participation.

"The ability to engage in e-commerce, pursue online training, telecommute, or establish a small business are just some of the ways that broadband provides economic opportunities for people with disabilities," said Kovacs. "Additionally, broadband enables life-enhancing telemedicine services like in-home monitoring and can lower healthcare costs by improving access to information and reducing travel costs."

The study was authored by Charles M. Davidson and Michael J. Santorelli of the Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute at New York Law School. For more information visit: www.uschamber.com/telecom.

The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

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