Benton publications explore the intersection of broadband and the public interest


John Horrigan

How should broadband adoption, affordability, and equity impact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s assessment of the availability of broadband for all Americans? A review of recent research indicates that it is not enough for networks to meet just certain deployment benchmarks.


Ann Treacy

This report follows the journey of five rural counties in Illinois (Edgar, Hancock, McLean, Ogle, and Schuyler) that enrolled in the Broadband Breakthrough community engagement and broadband planning program and used the resources and open-source tools the program provides to pursue a better broadband future. The goal of Broadband Breakthrough and this report is to help rural farming communitie


Dr. Michael Barts, Dr. Gerard Hayes

Conversations about rural broadband access tend to focus on connections to homes and businesses, but precision agriculture increasingly requires reliable connectivity to the farm office and the field.


All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are currently working on digital equity plans. One key component of the plans is the development of states’ visions for digital equity. These efforts are the initial state-level planning and envisioning at this scale and scope.


John Horrigan

Four Lessons for Policymakers


Robbie McBeath

For community leaders striving for digital equity, this guidebook will help communities evaluate and meet specific connectivity needs. We chart three pathways—Access, Adoption, and Use—that together offer a comprehensive approach to guide communities’ digital equity planning and provide structure for implementing effective solutions.


In November 2021, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, Black Brilliance Research Project (BBR), and Community Informatics Lab at Simmons University launched the six-city Digital Equity Action Research (DEAR) Fellowship.


Andrew Afflerbach

As state and local governments and their partners plan to invest billions of dollars in federal funding to build broadband infrastructure, choosing the best technology will have significant long-term implications.


Bill Coleman

With billions of dollars flowing through states to achieve universal broadband and digital equity, this guidebook will help local leaders ensure their communities are not left behind. The Accelerate community broadband planning program educates and supports community leadership teams as they create their community’s broadband vision and goals and pursue the best possible broadband solu


John Horrigan

The Affordable Connectivity Program represents an inflection point for Lifeline and universal service.

Prior to the pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program supported mainly wireless communication services for low-income households; its $9.25/month subsidy resulting in service plans that restricted voice and data usage.


Joanne Hovis, Ryland Sherman, Marc Schulhof

It is the era of the broadband public-private partnership.


Managed by US Ignite and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with Schmidt Futures, Project OVERCOME is a unique program that creates an innovative environment for seven communities to test locally accelerated


Jordan Arnold

Innovation has long been a hallmark of American agriculture. American farmers have continuously adapted their operations to meet new demand and stay competitive in an increasingly globalized economy.


Christopher Mitchell, Sean Gonsalves, Jericho Casper


One might think this is the moment for community broadband networks. The truth is, locally-directed networks have been serving their communities for a long, long time.


Ryland Sherman, Joanne Hovis, Jacob Levin

After a year of pandemic and crisis, the scale of our national digital divide is at last recognized by policymakers at all levels, with federal, state, and local governments making unprecedented commitments to narrow the divide.


Jordan Arnold, Jonathan Sallet

Residential and small-business customers have too few options for fixed, robust broadband service, what we refer to as “High-Performance Broadband.” Fixing our deployment and competition problems requires the construction of new broadband networks. In other words, we need more competition, and we need more broadband deployment.


Colin Rhinesmith, Susan Kennedy

How are digital inclusion coalitions across the country responding to the triple challenges of the pandemic, growing economic inequality, and racial injustice facing poor communities and communities of color across the country without access to broadband internet at home?

See Benton's Recommendations for a National Broadband Agenda and recognition of the many contributions that informed our t


Joanne Hovis, Jim Baller, David Talbot, Cat Blake

How can America’s communities secure the benefits of fiber-optic infrastructure?


John Horrigan

“Middle-skill” jobs make up a large portion of the market, has positions to fill, but suffers from a dearth of trained workers—especially when it comes to digital skills.


Denise Linn Riedl

Lessons, cases, and resources developed by local technology champions and planners

Our cities are changing at an incredible pace. The technology being deployed on our sidewalks and streetlights has the potential to improve mobility, sustainability, connectivity, and city services.

The broadband revolution is sparking broad social and economic change. We see three overarching benefits that High-Performance Broadband can deliver in the next decade:


In 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) met the challenge of sizing the E-Rate program to the new age of broadband. In two Modernization Orders, the FCC adopted three goals for the E-Rate program, which the FCC has itself described as:


John Horrigan

There are well-paying job opportunities for those on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum for so-called middle-skill jobs. These are jobs that generally do not require a college degree and pay a living wage. Roughly half of all job openings in the United States fall into the middle-skill category and most (82%) of them require digital skills – and wages are better as a result.


Victor Pickard, Pawel Popiel

This report, part history and part strategy playbook, examines the tactics and policy priorities of former-Commissioner Michael J. Copps during his 10 years at the FCC. An analysis of Commissioner Copps’s tenure, his political strategies, and his legacy is a timely endeavor, both for its historical importance and for its contemporary relevance.


Larry Kirkman

Combining state-of-the-technologies with traditional and new media, Benton's Campaigns for Kids in the mid-1990's reinvented fulfillment for PSA campaigns in the digital age by replacing 800 phone numbers and brochures with multimedia websites to provide information and resources for action.


Next Century Cities

Municipalities across the country are increasingly using technology to ensure government is accessible and responsive to citizens, while simultaneously creating forward-looking programs to increase internet access so more residents can experience the benefits of connectivity.


Colin Rhinesmith, Angela Siefer

This report describes the challenges facing community-based organizations and other key stakeholders in using outcomes-based evaluation to measure the success of their digital inclusion programs and offers recommendations toward addressing these shared barriers.


Joanne Hovis and Marc Schulhof, Jim Baller and Ashley Stelfox

Local governments increasingly see before them exciting new opportunities to develop next-generation broadband in their communities—and to reap the many benefits that broadband will deliver to their residents and businesses. The goal of most of these communities is to get optical fiber connections to every home and business.


Blair Levin, Denise Linn

This is a handbook for city officials seeking the affordable, abundant bandwidth their communities will need to thrive in the decades ahead.


Schools, Healthcare, Libraries Broadband Coalition

The future belongs to those with access to high-speed broadband. In the 21st century, anyone seeking to launch a business, exchange medical records, conduct a research project, obtain a college degree, engage in community activities, or create his or her own path will need both a high-capacity Internet connection and the digital skills necessary to navigate the online world.


Colin Rhinesmith, Angela Siefer, Katherine Bates

With library systems increasingly prioritizing equitable access to the Internet and digital literacy training, the role 21st-century libraries serve in promoting digital inclusion has become more prominent.


Colin Rhinesmith

This report presents findings from a national study of digital inclusion organizations that help low-income individuals and families adopt high-speed Internet service.


Ted Gotsch

In order to guarantee that everyone will have access to 21st century communications, policymakers will need to take pragmatic steps to understand the opportunities and barriers; ensure that everyone can access benefits; and make certain that our newest technologies continue to support some of our oldest values.