Expanded investments in rural broadband will only be effective if guided by accurate data, community-driven planning, engaged research, and successful models. This issue explores how to apply the best information and processes to guide effective investments of limited resources to expand access.
Christina Biedny and Brian E. Whitacre
Recent federal legislation will provide significant funding for U.S. broadband infrastructure. Both rural and agricultural areas could benefit from such investments, but only if the areas of high need are properly identified. Accurate maps of underserved/unserved areas will be critical to ensuring that the new funds are effectively targeted.
Christina M. Sanders, Michael J. Gaffney, Debra Hansen, and Monica Babine
Coverage maps historically provided an unrealistic assessment high speed availability. Collecting better local coverage data to inform policy decisions results in different priorities which better address actual needs. This paper describes the application of quantitative data and qualitative input from policy influencers to lead to better broadband access policy decisions.
Casey Canfield, Sarah A. Low, Christel Gollnick, and Debra Davis
Participatory methods can enhance rural community development. We demonstrate this in a wireless broadband pilot that includes university research faculty, Extension, and community participants. Integrating research and Extension projects can make a bigger contribution than either alone. Participatory methods can improve system design and collaboration across land grant university partners.
Helaina Gaspard and Paul Manuel Aviles Baker
Connectivity is key to technological and innovation-driven economic development, which presents an ongoing challenge for rural broadband provision. Connectivity efforts have been funded by governmental, private sector, and various combinations thereof. This paper takes a comparative U.S./Canada approach to identify modalities, intermediaries, and expenditure profiles to promote rural broadband connectivity.
David W. Hughes, David Willis, and Harry Crissy
We argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many U.S. workers to reassess working from home. Based on an analysis of Pennsylvania workers, the nature of their jobs, rural location, education, family income, and gender were all found to influence the chance of telecommuting during 9 months of the COVID pandemic.
Jamie Greig and Hannah Nelson
Electric co-operatives are vital to the expansion of broadband into rural areas. Yet, according to the National Rural Electric Co-operative Association, only 200 of the 900 co-ops could feasibly receive federal funding under existing rules and processes. A survey of these entities has identified several barriers to receiving federal funding.