Introducing Daily's Hierarchy Of Broadband Needs

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Previously I laid out an argument for how Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs applies to the world of broadband. Today I want to take that a step further and introduce Daily's Hierarchy of Broadband Needs. This hierarchy will provide a framework within which to focus broadband policies and initiatives.

There are four levels to Daily's Hierarchy of Broadband Needs:

- Availability
- Adoption
- Utilization
- Innovation

Availability is the most basic level of a user's broadband needs. Broadband needs to first be available for anyone to use it. Without availability established then none of the other levels matter.

The next level up is Adoption. Once broadband's available, how do we get people to adopt it? This covers areas like affordability, value, and starts getting us into issues of education and usability. Adoption is what makes broadband networks sustainable.

Once broadband's available and adopted, the next question is how can Utilization better people's lives? Encouraging greater utilization relies largely on explaining to people why they should use broadband and how they can do so. Utilization is what makes broadband networks worth the hassle of deploying.

At the top of Daily's Hierarchy lies Innovation. This is where once broadband is available, adopted, and being utilized we start finding new ways to use broadband to grow opportunity and drive efficiency. Innovation is what holds the key to broadband's limitless potential to encourage community and economic development.

To some these categories may seem obvious, but one need only check out our federal government's approach to broadband to recognize that this more holistic view of broadband is not yet the dominant paradigm.

Just look at the broadband stimulus. Pretty much the entire focus of the program is on broadband availability and adoption, with little specifically referenced in terms of utilization and innovation.

The problem with focusing primarily on availability is that we need an equal emphasis on utilization and innovation to justify the investment. And by worrying too much about adoption we risk creating broadband customers but not users, further stunting our growth in realizing broadband's full potential.

Luckily, many broadband stimulus programs include programs more focused on broadband utilization, and some could argue that the entire broadband stimulus program has the potential to spur innovation by broadening the marketplace and bringing this conversation around what broadband can do for communities more into the mainstream.

But moving forward we need our broadband planning efforts to be multi-faceted, recognizing that the more we encourage innovation, the more utilization we can document, the easier it'll be to get people adopt, and the better that'll make the business case for broadband deployment. While at the same time, building supply will bring more potential users to the table to drive greater usage of broadband that should lead to more innovation.

While all levels of Daily's Hierarchy are crucially important, the most important thing is their interconnectedness. And after observing too much attention being put on availability and adoption and not enough on utilization and innovation, I decided to move down to Lafayette, LA to create a framework for how to drive utilization and innovation in a community with fiber through the non-profit I've started called FiberCorps.

With this holistic approach to driving community and economic development through broadband, I believe that we can realize broadband's fullest potential.

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This page contains a single entry by Geoff Daily published on March 28, 2011 11:15 AM.

AT&T; + T-Mobile = More Questions Than Answers was the previous entry in this blog.

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