Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Benton Welcomes National Broadband Adoption Expert John Horrigan
Today, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss named John Horrigan the new Benton Senior Fellow. Horrigan has been a regular contributor to Benton’s Digital beat blog in recent years. He is a national expert on technology adoption, digital inclusion, and evaluating the outcomes and impacts of programs designed to promote communications technology adoption and use. He served at the Federal Communications Commission as a member of the leadership team for the development of the National Broadband Plan. Additionally, as an Associate Director for Research at the Pew Research Center, he focused on libraries and their impact on communities, as well as technology adoption patterns and open government data.
In the coming months, Horrigan will lead Benton’s research on the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program which provides discounted phone and internet service for low-income Americans. The program was last reformed in 2016 in an effort spearheaded by then-FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, now a member of Benton’s board of directors. At the time, the FCC recognized that accessing the Internet has become a prerequisite to full and meaningful participation in society, that affordability remains the primary barrier to broadband adoption, and that the Lifeline program should be a key driver of the solution to our Nation’s broadband affordability challenge. Horrigan’s research will examine whether or not the Lifeline program is living up to that promise, especially given the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and Congress’ creation of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program which provides a much more substantial subsidy to make home broadband service affordable.
“I am thrilled to welcome John onto the Benton team,” said Furniss. “At Benton, we believe that, everyone must have access to the infrastructure of opportunity—open, affordable, high-performance broadband—and the skills to make use of it, if we are to become a more equitable society. John Horrigan is a skilled researcher who has much to offer in helping us continue to articulate a comprehensive and inclusive strategy about how to achieve the full potential that broadband offers to our society, our economy, and our democracy.”
"I could not be more pleased to be part of the Benton Institute," Horrigan said. "With its commitment to research and evidence in policy debates, Benton is an important voice in ensuring that communications policy adheres to the values of inclusiveness and equity. I am glad to contribute to it."
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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