Bridging the Digital Skills Gap
Article | March 22, 2023
As the United States continues to tackle the digital divide, the challenge involves much more than installing internet service—which is just one component of a holistic and much bigger issue.
More Than Just Access: While giving every American household the opportunity to gain access to the internet is critical, another barrier to broadband adoption often overlooked is the lack of digital skills in the workforce. Because if people don't possess the necessary digital skills to navigate the internet, access alone won’t open doors or unleash the limitless opportunities that broadband can provide.
A Snapshot of the Digital Skills Gap
A recent report by the National Skills Coalition yielded the following findings:
- One-third of U.S. workers lack opportunities to build digital skills
- 92% of jobs available today require digital skills
- 23% of jobs that require even one digital skill can earn an average of 23% more than jobs requiring no digital skills
A Solution to the Problem
Given the increased demand for digital skills, the report stresses that the public and private sectors must work together to equip workers with these skills to help them thrive. This would not only help to correct the structural inequities inherent in society, but also give a big boon to businesses and to the American economy.
The Cable Industry’s Role
That's why the cable industry has continually targeted efforts to bridge the digital divide over the past decade, not just through its investments in buildouts in unserved communities, but through its programs, partnerships and resources dedicated to teaching digital skills.
- Charter, Comcast, Cox, GCI, Midco and Mediacom have long partnered with schools, local governments, nonprofits, businesses, foundations, and trusted community organizations to encourage broadband adoption and to offer digital skills trainings and workshops.
- Comcast launched their Digital Navigators program last year in support of the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program. The program sends trained individuals out in the field to teach digital skills to unconnected people and to encourage them to sign up for programs like the ACP.
- Charter announced this month the expansion of Spectrum Community Center Assist. The program supports job training efforts at community centers across Charter’s footprint through providing funding, gigabit internet service, laptops, equipment, and job and digital skills training to help people improve their economic situation.
As the Biden administration distributes federal funds for broadband deployment and adoption, the cable industry continues to do its part in collaborating with the government, the private sector, and in fostering the public-private partnerships that give unconnected Americans the digital skills necessary to succeed.
The 10G Future: Healthcare
Article | March 21, 2023
10G, the broadband network soon delivering superfast symmetrical internet speeds, has the potential to transform how we live, work, learn and play. Recent years have demonstrated that healthcare is primed to benefit from super-fast broadband, as telehealth becomes more regular and as new technologies come to market.
NCTA partnered with the Future Today Institute (FTI), experts in researching trends and calculating how they will disrupt business, government and society, to imagine what some cutting-edge changes might look like with 10G. The resulting report honed in on four areas: entertainment, healthcare, education, and agriculture.
How will healthcare be transformed?
The healthcare sector is poised to make big gains from next-generation networks, allowing healthcare to take place where a patient happens to be, not just in an examination room.
Smart healthcare is preventative healthcare
More secure networks will allow people to safely collect even more of their own health data.
- Wearables, smart home sensors, and personal smart devices will capture health and wellness data.
- Health data will be stored, monitored, and managed in the cloud.
- Patients will have access to all their data and control who can see it.
- With increased security measures that come with 10G, patients can feel comfortable collecting sensitive data.
Personalized in-home wellness
New technologies will utilize the 10G network to bring healthcare out of the doctor’s office and into the home as much as possible.
- Synthetic health coaches will advise on diet and exercise.
- Scent devices will replicate various smells by mixing olfactory elements to complete the experience.
- Spatial audio earbuds will create a realistic soundscape.
Next generation medicine
As super-fast networks connect more and more of the country, low-latency and increased network security will enable a healthcare revolution.
- A connected health management system will give first responders quick access to patients’ information.
- Expert surgeons will conduct procedures remotely.
- Rural hospitals will evolve into connected surgical centers.
- 10G’s super-low latency will enable remote surgery, giving surgeons the precision to operate from far away.
- Nationwide healthcare will make medical specialists’ expertise available to all.
As the 10G future gets closer to reality, most Americans already have access to gigabit networks and even faster speeds are just around the corner. To learn more about the ways 10G might impact key industries, the FTI’s complete report is available on 10Gplatform.com.
What is Latency and Why Is It Important?
Article | March 7, 2023
In today’s “always online” world, seamless network operation and a smooth connectivity experience is essential. Engineers have worked hard to reduce the latency (often referred to as lag or lag time) users encounter while relying on the broadband networks that power smart technologies. In fact, super low-latency is one of 10G’s primary benefits.
What Is Latency?
In general terms, latency is the time that elapses between a request for information and its arrival. Sometimes lag can happen on a network, on a device, or both at the same time. Anytime a signal is sent and processed, some degree of lag is to be expected. When accessing the internet, lag or latency is measured by the amount of time it takes for a “ping,” or sample signal, to travel from a source device to a server and back. Gamers often talk about ping rates, which is another term for latency or lag.
Managing Latency Is Key
Latency is an almost-guaranteed aspect of electrical engineering. Digital speeds might feel instant, but it takes time for a wave to travel. Combine that with slight resistance in many conducting wires, and there will always be some level of latency that comes with using a device or network.
Because of this physical reality, engineers look for all the places they can streamline in a network to cut down on all the small factors that can contribute to latency, like processing time and high traffic.
What Role Does Latency Play in User Experiences?
Users want a reliably low-latency experience, and get frustrated when lag gets in the way. According to CableLabs, people begin to detect delays at about 20 milliseconds.
- Every small improvement in a network counts.
- That’s why changes like prioritizing latency-sensitive data, more efficient Wi-Fi network management, and other improvements combine to drive down lag.
- To a gamer, it’s the difference between winning and losing.
- 10G (the next-generation network delivering speeds up to 10 Gbps) networks decrease latency to just one millisecond for many lag-sensitive applications.
Because latency is more urgent in certain instances than others, 10G technologies work by prioritizing latency-sensitive data. Plenty of industries rely on low-latency networks, and will do so even more into the future.
- The result is that a cardiothoracic surgeon can confidently complete telesurgery, as healthcare access expands beyond physical doctors’ offices.
- As automation and remote-operated machinery grows, low-latency technologies will ensure the precision needed for real-time sensing, be it agriculture or manufacturing.
- Video conferencing with low-latency allows conversations to flow seamlessly, making remote solutions more useful and allowing businesses to grow outside of their direct geographic area.
- Virtual reality, and all the uses it powers, depends on low-latency to make the immersive experience authentic. Some emergency services have begun using VR to train first-responders, who are faced with constantly changing scenarios that are often life-or death.
- A VR training that can respond faster than the human brain keeps trainees sharp and prepares them for dangerous real-world scenarios, without having to risk their lives first to gain that knowledge.
By utilizing new low-latency DOCSIS technologies, 10G will allow users to experience a seamless super-fast broadband network. As more of the 10G network rolls out, users will benefit from all the latest engineering that not only delivers gigabit speeds, but low-latency and enhanced security and stability as well.
To learn more about the latest from 10G, be sure to visit the website and sign up for the newsletter.