Access to quality and affordable broadband is critical for learning and economic development, yet vast swaths of the United States still lack the connectivity needed for effective learning and economic development. Public research universities can play a key role in addressing this digital divide.
How? That’s the question APLU and a subset of its members set out to answer in virtual conferences supported by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture that intentionally convened university faculty with Cooperative Extension professionals to discuss research and extension efforts to address rural broadband.
Drawing on this work, the journal Choices recently published an issue featuring articles authored by APLU member university faculty and describing how they are working in their communities to expand access to rural broadband, evaluate broadband efforts, and scale approaches that work.
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.
The publication, entitled Making it Count: Applying Science to Support Universal Broadband, was edited by APLU Strategic Advisor for Economic and Community Development Sheila Martin. It includes articles from faculty of APLU member universities including Oklahoma State University, Washington State University, Purdue University, University of Missouri, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Georgia Tech, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Clemson University, and Penn State University.
The content was guided by an advisory committee including Monica Babine, Wendy Fink, Robert Gallardo, Sascha Meinrath, Rachel Welborn, Brian Whitacre, and Milan Ephraim.