2019 TPRC Charles Benton Early Career Scholar Award

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Digital Beat

2019 TPRC Charles Benton Early Career Scholar Award

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Adrianne B. Furniss

This is my third time presenting the Charles Benton Early Career Scholar Award, but it is the first time with my new name. I have been Adrianne B. Furniss, executive director of the Benton Foundation; today I’m here as Adrianne B. Furniss, executive director of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.

As you all know, broadband has quickly emerged as the most transformative technology of our generation — delivering opportunities and strengthening communities. As broadband’s capability to transform lives and society has grown, so too has it become Benton’s driving mission. Our new name squarely reflects our accelerating efforts to advance policies that help ensure broadband opportunities for everyone.

Benton’s name isn’t the only news to share this year. I am here to thank Fernando and the TPRC community for seeing the value in continuing to honor early career scholars, with an extension of the Charles Benton Award for an additional three years.

 I’m also here with the news that we’re celebrating not just one paper by a young scholar. The Charles Benton Early Career Scholar Committee – chaired by Robin Mansell with members Bill Dutton, Jon Gant, Amit Schejter, Michael Calabrese, and former-Benton Faculty Research Fellow, Colin Rhinesmith – decided to recognize two great contributions in 2019.

I thank the committee for its efforts and I applaud their creative solution to award Burcu Baykurt as the 2019 TPRC Charles Benton Early Career Scholar Award Winner and Jacob Manlove as the runner up.

Burcu Baykurt wrote (Dis)connecting the Digital City which examines how the connectivity infrastructures of the digital city are laid over uneven terrains and the ways residents react to those changes.

Assessing the Need for a Measure of Broadband Adoption Inequality, written by Jacob Manlove, proposes the use of the absolute value index which distinguishes between no mobile use, mobile only, fixed only, and use of both as a measure to study inequality in broadband adoption in contrast to a simple percentage indicator of adoption. This can be helpful for developing state policies based on a more nuanced understanding of broadband access inequalities.

Burcu completed a Ph.D. in Communications at Columbia University and holds an MA in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, an MA in Political Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from Istanbul’s Bogazici University.

She just started this semester as an assistant professor of urban futures and communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on the social and cultural implications of digital technologies, with a particular focus on infrastructures, governance, and inequality. Baykurt’s book project, The City as Data Machine, is based on fieldwork and interviews she conducted over three years in Kansas City, where residents and public officials partnered with Google and Cisco to test a gigabit internet service and a smart city program respectively. She examines the ways digital infrastructures change how the city manages and experiences urban inequalities.

Jacob Manlove is a PhD student in Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University and an Assistant Professor at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. He holds a BA in Economics and an MS in Agricultural Economics from the University of Arkansas. Manlove’s work focuses on rural development including the relationship between broadband adoption and civic engagement.

I am delighted to be here to help honor these two, great young scholars that understand broadband’s impact on opportunity, on community, and on society.

Thank you, Burcu, for being here today to receive the Award.

Adrianne B. Furniss is the Executive Director of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.

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Benton Institute
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Broadband Delivers Opportunities and Strengthens Communities

By Adrianne B. Furniss.