Research in Action

We build knowledge by providing a body of research and best practices to guide our field’s work.

 

Marjorie & Charles Benton Opportunity Fund

We launched the fund in honor of the lifelong commitments and contributions of Marjorie and the late Charles to support a stronger, more equitable, and more just America.

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society welcomes fellowship applications to support a new generation of broadband scholars, practitioners, and advocates.

Learn More Here

Recent Highlights

Brief on Forthcoming Report: Digital Safety & Privacy in Ongoing Broadband Investment
Greta Byrum + Ever Bussey, December 18, 2023

Researching Digital Equity: With People, For People
Dr. Revati Prasad + Dr. Erezi Ogbo, December 18, 2023

Paying It Forward in Washtenaw County
Dr. Pierrette Renee Dagg, December 14, 2023

Research Roundup: Notes from the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference
Dr. Revati Prasad, October 3, 2023

Inaugural Fellows

Principal, Broadband and Digital Equity, HR&A Advisors

Greta's work focuses on online safety, privacy, and well-being, developing strategic guidance for how state digital equity plans can help new and historically marginalized  users navigate the internet safely. Greta and co-author Ever Bussey reviewed state digital equity plans and interviewed leading digital safety and security experts, many from communities most at risk from digital harms. In a forthcoming report, they suggest concrete steps that government officials, philanthropy, and communities can take to reduce risks for new and vulnerable internet users using the “power, not paranoia” approach articulated by the data privacy group Our Data Bodies.

Director of Technology Impact Research at Merit Network

Dr. Dagg’s project is focused on the role community champions in community connectivity solutions and the factors that allow these leaders to succeed. Her work builds on Merit’s work with a number of Michigan communities, examining community champions in-depth to develop a typology of possible models of leaders.

CEO, EveryoneOn

In order to ensure that digital equity planning efforts and broadband policy center the voices of underrepresented and marginalized groups, Norma’s project examines the barriers to adoption for the income-insecure Latinas and African American/Black women. Exploring their journeys to broadband adoption, computer ownership, and digital skill development, Norma aims to understand what facilitates their ability to participate in digital inclusion activities, what challenges they experience, and how their lives are impacted by these activities.

Assistant Professor, North Carolina Central University

Dr. Ogbo is studying the impact of subsidized broadband on historically marginalized communities. Looking at federal, state, and local programs that assist low-income families to get connected, her project examines how improved broadband access has impacted the local economies and communities of low-income and minority populations.

Clinician-investigator, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Dr. Rodriguez’s project evaluates an equity-focused digital health navigator program in Eastern Massachusetts that supports patients in using telehealth services and patient portals. Working in seven different languages, the navigators have enrolled and trained over 7,000 patients in the patient portal thus far. With the goal of developing best practices that could inform other healthcare systems, Dr. Rodriguez will develop a playbook on planning and implementing a digital health navigator program and assess the impact of integrating digital inclusion resources in healthcare settings.

Chief Digital Equity Officer, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

HPD is launching a pilot hybrid fiber-mesh network that is expected to connect up to 50 affordable housing developments in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. The pilot network will serve approximately 1,300 households, including 650 families assisted by the agency’s Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program. With Benton’s support, HPD will document the learnings from this initiative to share with other municipalities, public housing authorities, and affordable housing organizations across the country. A short film about the pilot network will highlight the impact of providing broadband to families in the participating buildings, as well as the potential of deeper impact throughout the broader community.

Equitable Broadband in Urban America Research Group

The Equitable Broadband in Urban America Research Group is a multi-city,  multi-methods project that will offer actionable insights into how broadband in urban America can be improved. Researchers will explore how state and federal policymakers, local governments, and digital equity champions can continue to build digital equity in these communities. Research teams in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Seattle will delve into the specific dynamics and challenges to reaching universal broadband and digital equity in their cities. 

Learn more here.

Policies, Plans, and Promises Research Group

The Policies, Plans, and Promises Research Group will conduct comparative policy analyses to understand how states are approaching specific issues critical to ensuring equitable broadband. The first two projects will focus on community anchor institutions and tribal broadband. 

Learn more here.

Understanding Broadband Affordability

The Affordable Connectivity Program Enrollment Performance Tool
Tool to help any community answer the question: “How are Affordable Connectivity Program sign-ups going?”

Are We There Yet? Affordability, Adoption, Equity, and the United States’s Universal Broadband Goals
John Horrigan, December 20, 2023

ACP Uptake is Strongest in Places Where It's Needed Most
John Horrigan, December 18, 2023

Broadband Benefit Programs are Helping to Close the Digital Divide
John Horrigan, November 29, 2022

Reimagining Lifeline: Universal Service, Affordability, and Connectivity
John Horrigan, February 22, 2022

Prioritizing Digital Equity

Visions of Digital Equity
Participatory research project that proposes Ten Principles for Digital Equity Visions to help guide both the process and resulting visions of digital equity.

The Digital Equity Action Research (DEAR) Fellowship: A Participatory Action Research Project
July 12, 2022