Roberto Gallardo

Remote Work and the Coronavirus

Large segments of the US workforce have shifted to remote work, but not all workers and communities are equally prepared for remote work or e-learning. Studies have found not all jobs/occupations are remote work friendly and internet access among school districts vary significantly.

DSL, the Slowest Technology, Remains the One Most Available in Rural

  • Digital deserts exist, more so in rural areas.
  • The urban-rural access divide is sizeable and still persists.
  • A little less than half of housing units in the country are sliced up in between either top 6 only providers or other providers only.
  • The technology with the largest footprint in the nation (DSL) also has the lowest median advertised speeds pointing to a potential quality of service issue.

A Look at Broadband Access, Providers and Technology

The Federal Communications Commission publishes a bi-annual dataset based on data submitted by internet service providers using Form 477. This dataset provides information at the Census block level, the most granular geography used by the US Census Bureau, on types of technologies available (e.g. Cable, Fixed Wireless, Fiber-optic, etc.), maximum advertised download/ upload speeds, and providers’ names among other information. However, this dataset has several limitations.

Rural Policy: ‘Here’s What We Need,’ Advocates Say

The Daily Yonder, working with the Rural Assembly, identified a dozen rural-policy advocates with firsthand knowledge about the impact of federal policy in rural communities. They asked these in-the-trenches experts to name the top policies they would like to see 2020 presidential candidates address and eventually enact. Roberto Gallardo, Assistant Director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development at Purdue University, wrote on Technology and Broadband:

Digital Inclusion in the Upper Midwest: Implications for Regional Development

Despite these limitations, the digital inclusion indicators and metrics that we have analyzed do offer some insights on the steps that leaders and practitioners should consider in their community, economic, and workforce development efforts. They include:

Digital Distress in the Upper Midwest

Digital distress is defined as census tracts that have a higher percent of homes not subscribing to the internet or subscribing only through a cellular data plan as well as a higher percent of homes with no computing devices or relying only on mobile devices, no laptops or desktops. About 8.1 percent of the upper Midwest’s population (or 4.3 million people) lived in digitally distressed areas as of 2017.

An X-Ray of Broadband Access in the Upper Midwest

As of 2017, about 1.7 million housing units in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin did not have access to 25/3 affecting 3.5 million residents. Michigan had the highest share (25.5 percent) of housing units in the region with no 25/3 access, followed by Illinois (17.6 percent) and Wisconsin (17.2 percent). Minnesota had the lowest share, with less than 10 percent of the total.

State of Broadband

The main objective of this report is to increase awareness of the state of broadband availability in the nine counties that are part of the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Council (SIRPC) region and its implications.

Digital Distress: What is it and who does it affect? Part 2.

Digital distress is defined here as census tracts (neighborhoods) that had a 1) high percentage of homes not subscribing to the internet or subscribing only through a cellular data plan and a 2) high percent of homes with no computing devices or relying only on mobile devices. This post takes a deeper look at the socioeconomic characteristics of these digitally distressed areas. The socioeconomic characteristics of those in digital distress denote a higher share of minorities, less educated, poorer, and younger residents.

Digital Distress: What is it and who does it affect?

Digital distress areas have a harder time using and leveraging the internet to improve their quality of life due to the type of internet subscription or devices owned. Digital distress is defined here as census tracts (neighborhoods) that had a 1) high percentage of homes not subscribing to the internet or subscribing only through a cellular data plan and a 2) high percent of homes with no computing devices or relying only on mobile devices.