New Article in Communication Research and Practice

Media, Culture & SocietyI am excited to announce that my new paper, titled “The Ability to Pay for Broadband,” which was co-authored with Bianca Reisdorf (UNC Charlotte) and Simmons SLIS alum Madison Bishop (Plymouth Public Library) was just published in a special issue on “Digital inequalities and inclusion” guest edited by Justine Humphry (The University of Sydney) in Communication Research and Practice.

Today, the Benton Foundation published our blog post, which provides a brief summary of our published article and its findings. Here’s a snippet from the Benton Foundation’s website:

“According to recent National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) survey data, roughly 28 million households in the United States still do not use the Internet at home (Goldberg, 2019). In its survey, the NTIA also asked why households did not use the Internet at home, with 58 percent citing a lack of interest as their main reason for being offline and every fifth household (21%) stating that it is too expensive. Out of those who cited cost as their main reason for not having home access, half had annual household incomes lower than $25,000 (Goldberg, 2019). But an aspect that is often missing from Internet use survey data is the complexity of potential reasons why households might think they have no need or no interest in home Internet access and how this is often closely intertwined with their ability to afford a home Internet connection.

In our recent paper, published in a special issue of Communications Research and Practice, we present findings from two separate studies on digital inclusion in the United States that sought to gain a deeper understanding of the ability of low-income individuals to spend their money on wired broadband internet connections at home. We believe the findings from the studies can be useful to policymakers, practitioners, and other stakeholders interested in developing effective digital inclusion and broadband adoption policies.”

Our article is available open access for a limited time via the journal’s website at Taylor & Francis Online.

Co-Editing Special Issue on “Digital Inclusion Across the Globe”

I am excited and honored to announce that I will be co-editing a special issue in an upcoming issue of the peer-reviewed open access journal Social inclusion with my colleague, Dr. Bianca Reisdorf (UNC Charlotte). The title of the special issue is “Digital Inclusion Across the Globe: What Is Being Done to Tackle Digital Inequities?

Here is a snippet from our call for papers:

“In this thematic issue, we invite papers from across the globe that examine digital inclusion—the process of trying to address digital inequities, inequalities, and divides. What initiatives have been or are being applied in different countries, regions, cities, or communities to foster digital inclusion and with what effect? The scope of this call is purposely broad to include all types of communities. For example, submissions might discuss digital inclusion efforts with vulnerable populations, such as prisoners and those formerly incarcerated, disenfranchised youth, refugee or immigrant populations, and other marginalized groups and communities. We invite papers from across the globe and especially welcome papers addressing digital inclusion in the Global South and BRIC countries. We also invite papers using any methodology (qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, and so forth) to examine digital inclusion across various contexts and communities.”

New Paper Published in Lecture Notes in Computer Science

My colleagues, Chris Ritzo, Georgia Bullen, the late James Werle, and SLIS doctoral student, Alyson Gamble, and I have a new paper published in Lecture Notes in Computer Science. The paper, titled “Participatory Development of an Open Source Broadband Measurement Platform for Public Libraries” was published as part of the iConference 2019 Conference Proceedings.

Here is the abstract for our paper:

“Public libraries need access to reliable, automated, and longitudinal data on the speed and quality of service of their broadband Internet connections. Having such data at a local, granular level is essential for libraries to understand how their broadband infrastructure can meet their communities’ digital demands, as well as inform local, state, and national broadband planning efforts in the U.S. This paper contributes a participatory research methodology and an information system design proposal to investigate how public libraries can utilize broadband measurement tools to achieve these goals. The purpose of the research is to assist public libraries in gaining a better understanding of the relationship between their network infrastructure and digital services. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the expected findings from our project, which builds upon existing research that examined how broadband measurement tools can be utilized in public schools.”

To learn more about our research, please visit our project site.

Charles Benton Early Career Scholar Award at TPRC

TPRC (the Research Conference on Communications, Information and Internet Policy) and the Benton Foundation announce the third year of the Charles Benton Early Career Scholar Award recognizing scholarship in the area of digital inclusion and broadband adoption. 

Early Career scholars (those currently enrolled in a degree program or no more than five years from receipt of most recent degree) are invited to submit per the guidelines below. The winner of this special honor will be presented with a $1,500 cash prize at lunch during the TPRC47 conference and the TPRC Conference fee will be waived. The winner will be required to contribute a blog article based on the winning submission for publication on the Benton Foundation website.

Applicants are invited to submit any/all of the following for consideration: (1) an original empirically-based research paper pertaining to the area of digital inclusion and/or broadband adoption, (2) a policy proposal for digital inclusion and broadband adoption with a discussion of the justification, and/or (3) an essay on a topic dealing with digital inclusion and/or broadband adoption. Submissions must be less than 25 double-spaced, typewritten pages, inclusive of notes and bibliography and will not have been formally published in a peer review outlet prior to TPRC47.

Submissions must be received by May 31. The recipient will be chosen by a TPRC Board Committee. The winner will be informed by July 15 and the winner will be required to attend the conference and agree to work with Benton Foundation’s Executive Editor, Kevin Taglang, to produce the blog article for benton.orgby December 31, 2019. For questions concerning this Award, please contact Prof. Robin Mansell at r.e.mansell@lse.ac.uk

Submissions should be made through the TPRC Website at (www.tprcweb.com). 

New Co-Authored Book Chapter

My colleague, Dr. Bianca Reisdorf (UNC Charlotte) and I have a chapter that was just published in an edited volume, titled “Digital Inclusion: An International Comparative Analysis” (Rowman & Littlefield) by Massimo Ragnedda (Northumbria University) and Bruce Mutsvairo (University of Technology Sydney). The title of our chapter is “An Asset-Based Approach to Digital Inclusion Research in the US Context” and features some of the research findings included in my report, titled “Digital Inclusion and Meaningful Broadband Adoption Initiatives” published by the Benton Foundation in 2016.

Here is the description of the book from the publisher’s website:

“The volume examines the risks and opportunities of a digital society characterized by the increasing importance of knowledge and by the incessant rise and pervasiveness of information and communication technologies (ICTs). At a global level, the pivotal role of ICTs has made it necessary to rethink ways to avoid forms of digital exclusion or digital discrimination. This edited collection comprises of chapters written by respected scholars from a variety of countries, and brings together new scholarship addressing what the process of digital inclusion means for individuals and places in the countries analyzed. Each country has its own strategy to guarantee that people can access and enjoy the benefits of the information society. While this book does not presume to map all the countries in the world, it does shed light into these strategies, underlining what each country is doing in order to reduce digital inequalities and to guarantee that socially disadvantaged people (in terms of disabilities, availability of resources, age, geographic location, lack of education, or ethnicity) are digitally included.”