Research

Reports that employ attempts to inform communications policymaking in a systematically and scientific manner.

Adapting Jobs Programs for Today and Tomorrow

“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. Digital skills refer to a person’s ability to use digital tools, applications, and networks to access and manage information. Pandemic-driven unemployment will only put the middle-skill issue into sharper relief.

Broadband Costs Too Much

The Open Technology Institute's latest study of the price of internet service, The Cost of Connectivity 2020, finds substantial evidence of an affordability crisis in the United States. From service plans that meet the current Federal Communications Commission definition for broadband at 25/3 Mbps to bigger, bolder standards, U.S. consumers pay more for monthly internet prices on average than European consumers based on advertised metrics. And, perhaps just as importantly, U.S.

Toward Inclusive Urban Technology

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. Public value and public inclusion in this change, however, are not inevitable. Depending on how these technologies are deployed, they have the potential to increase inequities and distrust as much as they can create responsive government services.

2020 Broadband Deployment Report

The Federal Communications is charged with “encourag[ing] the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans . . . by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market.” Available evidence demonstrates that the digital divide continues to narrow as more Americans than ever before have access to high-speed broadband.

Lack of Broadband Leaves Students Behind

Michigan State University's Quello Center reported this week that middle and high school students with high-speed Internet access at home have more digital skills, higher grades, and perform better on standardized tests, such as the SAT. Regardless of socioeconomic status, students who cannot access the Internet from home or are dependent on a cell phone for Internet access do worse in school and are less likely to attend college or university. The deficit in digital skills contributes to lower student interest in careers related to science, technology, engineering, and math.

What Are States Doing to Close the Digital Divide?

Strong, collaborative relationships between stakeholders are the cornerstone of Minnesota's efforts to expand broadband access. West Virginia has promoted broadband expansion by examining and eliminating barriers to deployment. Colorado has made a significant investment in broadband planning at the regional level. In 2017 the Tennessee Legislature created the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grant Program to support broadband deployment in unserved areas of the state. Virginia employs two programs to achieve "functionally universal" broadband coverage.

How States Are Expanding Broadband Access

The Pew Charitable Trusts examined state broadband programs nationwide and found that they have many similarities but also differences that reflect the political environment, the state's resource levels, the geography of the areas that remain unserved by broadband, and the entities that provide service. While it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for state expansion efforts, some measures that many states have taken are proving effective.

New Data Shows Digital Divide Closing & Broadband Competition Rising

The Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA) released updated data showing that from December 2016 to December 2018, the number of Americans without any options for at least 250/25 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service plummeted by 74%, from 181.7 million to 47 million. And during that same time period, the number of Americans with no options for at least 25/3 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service fell by 30%, from 26.1 million to 18.3 million.

(Dis)Connecting the Digital City

Among smart city enthusiasts, digital inclusion — the idea that nobody in the city should be deprived of digital technologies — is an oft-repeated social objective. Despite lofty commitments, the smart city is still a work-in-progress and its record in fostering social inclusion and diversity has been dismal so far. If technological interventions are as apt to deepen divides as redress them, why do proponents insist on the smart city’s promise of lessening urban inequalities?

Confirmed: FCC Wireless Coverage Maps Stink

The Federal Communications Commission, in December 2018, launched an investigation into whether one or more major mobile providers violated the requirements to submit coverage maps to the FCC. FCC staff discovered that the coverage maps submitted by Verizon, U.S. Cellular, and T-Mobile likely overstated each provider’s actual coverage and did not reflect on-the-ground performance in many instances. Only 62.3% of staff drive tests achieved at least the minimum download speed predicted by the coverage maps—with U.S.