Research

The Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion

Ten years ago, the National Broadband Plan observed that as “more aspects of daily life move online and offline alternatives disappear, the range of choices available to people without broadband narrows. Digital exclusion compounds inequities for historically marginalized groups.” In light of these trends, that plan warned “the cost of digital exclusion is large and growing.” Unfortunately, only modest efforts to address those costs have been expended in the last decade. Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates a shift to “remote everything,” the costs of exclusion have grown even larger.

Providing Free and Affordable Broadband for All in Illinois

In order to achieve the goal of universal broadband for everyone in Illinois, broadband must be available and affordable. However, home broadband service is out of reach for many low-income households in Illinois that are unable to afford subscriptions. Therefore, efforts to promote universal broadband should include programs that offer access to affordable broadband service, as well as access to low-cost digital devices and digital literacy training, which have been highlighted as necessary to promote digital inclusion and meaningful broadband adoption.

The Impacts of COVID-19 on Digital Equity Ecosystems

COVID-19 has turned the floodlights on digital inequality in rural, tribal, and urban communities across the United States.

Broadband for America Now

In October 2019, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society issued Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s. The agenda was comprehensive, constructed upon achievements in communities and insights from experts across the nation. The report outlined the key building blocks of broadband policy—deployment, competition, community anchor institutions, and digital equity (including affordability and adoption).

Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s

The purpose of Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s is to collect, combine, and contribute to a national broadband agenda for the next decade, enlisting the voices of broadband leaders in an ongoing discussion on how public policy can close the digital divide and extend digital opportunity everywhere. Leaders at all levels of government should ensure that everyone is able to use High-Performance Broadband in the next decade by embracing the following building blocks of policy:

Fake Comments: How US Companies & Partisans Hack Democracy to Undermine Your Voice

This report is the product of an extensive investigation by the New York Office of the Attorney General (OAG) of the parties that sought to influence the Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 proceeding to repeal the agency’s net neutrality rules. In the course of that investigation, the OAG obtained and analyzed tens of thousands of internal emails, planning documents, bank records, invoices, and data comprising hundreds of millions of records. Our investigation confirmed many contemporaneous reports of fraud that dogged that rulemaking process.

Broadband for all: charting a path to economic grow

Quantifying the economic impact of bridging the digital divide clearly shows the criticality of broadband infrastructure to the US economy. Deloitte developed economic models to evaluate the relationship between broadband and economic growth. The models indicate that a 10-percentage-point increase of broadband penetration in 2016 would have resulted in more than 806,000 additional jobs in 2019, or an average annual increase of 269,000 jobs. Moreover, Deloitte found a strong correlation between broadband availability and jobs and GDP growth.

Starlink: Bridging the Digital Divide or Shooting for the Stars?

Starlink is still in beta phase, but Ookla decided to use data from Speedtest Intelligence to investigate Q1 2021 performance in the US and Canada to see if the program is living up to expectations. In the US  during Q1 2021, median download speeds from Starlink ranged from 40.36 Mbps in Columbia County, Oregon to 93.09 Mbps in Shasta County, California.

COVID-19 has forever changed bandwidth usage patterns

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic began towards the tail end of the first quarter of 2020. The impact was immediate and has forever changed bandwidth usage patterns. As 2020 came to an end, subscribers, on average, were consuming close to one half of a terabyte (TB) of data, up 40% from 2019. The pandemic impact is even more pronounced with the growth in upstream bandwidth. OpenVault predicts that by December 2021, the average broadband consumption per household will be around 600-650 gigabytes -- that's more than six times the average broadband consumption level since 2015.

 

Scoping new policy frameworks for local and community broadband networks

Over several years, locally-initiated and operated Internet infrastructure projects have attempted to provide online connectivity and simultaneously achieve various social goals. Many generations of do-it-yourself network efforts that are either wireless, such as community mesh networks, or wired, such as fiber cooperatives, exist, but in the United States scaled developments have been stalled for a variety of reasons. This research examines the history of local connectivity efforts as well as technologies designed to cultivate sharing or commons organizational approaches.