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January 23, 2015: Deepening Ties Paper Released, by John Horrigan, PhD 

New research on Comcast's Internet Essentials program by John Horrigan, PHD, and supported by the Comcast Innovation Fund shows that having broadband access at home quickly becomes a staple in people's daily routines and that those who have had training on the Internet and computers realize these benefits faster.

The findings come from a unique longitudinal research design that surveyed the same set of IE customers in January 2014 and then a second time in September 2014. Over the eight month time interval, IE customers became more frequent and confident online users. Comparing survey results through time:

  • 59% said of IE users were very comfortable with computers in September, an increase from 47% in January.
  • This was accompanied by increase in use; 95% of IE users said they used the Internet at home at least occasionally with IE in September up from 84% in January.

Among respondents, some 31% had some sort of formal training on the Internet and computers, some from IE programs and many from libraries and community centers. IE customers who took advantage of training opportunities were more likely than others to use the Internet for job search and to improve their workforce skills. IE users also reported that home access helped them manage their work schedules and communication with their employers.

The upshot of the research is clear: Providing training that makes the Internet, easily and reliably accessible to those who need it can increase their quality of life, professional opportunities and financial security.

Read more from "Deepening Ties" by John Horrigan, PhD