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NTIA Releases BTOP Best Practices Toolkit

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration has released a broadband "toolkit" of adoption best practices.

NTIA along with the FCC has been charged by the Obama Administration with extending high-speed broadband to all citizens. The Commerce Department has taken several steps to do that, including coming up with a national broadband map to show where service is and isn't, and overseeing stimulus funds for broadband adoption and buildout.

The toolkit is drawn from the experiences of those stimulus grant recipients, the so-called BTOP, or Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.

"We developed the toolkit in order to share the expert knowledge and experience of the broadband adoption and computer training projects with a broader base of anchor institutions, government agencies, non-profits and others engaged in this effort," said NTIA administrator Lawrence Strickling in a speech Thursday.

According to NTIA, some of the guidelines the tooklit provides are:

  • "Make digital literacy programs relevant by teaching skills that can change people's daily lives, such as how to apply and search for a job online.
  • "Partner with established community organizations that people know and trust to help engage hard-to-reach populations.
  • "Provide convenient times and locations for broadband training and computer use to ensure easy access.
  • "Address the cost of broadband adoption by providing access to discounted computer equipment and/or affordable broadband service."

"NTIA's toolkit collects valuable lessons learned and best practices from BTOP computer centers and adoption projects -- representing a federal investment of $450M -- in one reference manual," said Benton Foundation Executive director Cecilia Garcia in a statement. "It includes chapters on outreach, discount offerings, program planning, training and curriculum. This is a most welcome resource!"

Garcia said that Benton's own research has shown that BTOP projects targeted at seniors provide good guidance on how to set up programs to get them online.