Promoting Fair Local Organizing for Broadband Delivery: Suggestions for Community-Level Action in Persistently Underserved Communities

31 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2012 Last revised: 16 Jul 2014

See all articles by Michael Fortunato

Michael Fortunato

Sam Houston State University

Jeffrey Bridger

The Pennsylvania State University

Theodore R. Alter

Pennsylvania State University

Grace Emmerling

The Pennsylvania State University

Kathryn Ortbal

The Pennsylvania State University

Mike Schwartz

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Glenn Sterner

Pennsylvania State University

William Shuffstall

Penn State Extension, Economic and Community Development

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 15, 2012

Abstract

Despite a wealth of research on broadband proliferation across rural and urban areas, the well-researched digital divide still persists in many rural communities, hindering social, community, and economic development. Policy remedies like the 2009 Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) have improved broadband development in some areas, while other areas continue to be underserved, or served only by expensive and insufficient broadband options. The continued persistence of the divide challenges policy assumptions about the universality of coverage through federal and state-level initiatives, and brings the focus of successful broadband development to the community level.

This paper presents the results of a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)-funded research project conducted in Maine, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, intended to uncover community-level factors that have either encouraged or inhibited independent, local broadband network development in persistently underserved communities. Evidence is presented from six study sites across the three states illustrating a variety of delivery strategies, and underscoring the role of communities, culture, and local institutions in the network development process. The paper develops a series of alternative policy ideas and suggestions for supporting and promoting successful local initiatives, designed specifically to enhance citizen-driven efforts in persistently underserved areas.

Keywords: digital divide, community, independent, community broadband, municipal, public-private partnership

JEL Classification: O18, O33, O38, P13

Suggested Citation

Fortunato, Michael and Bridger, Jeffrey and Alter, Theodore R. and Emmerling, Grace and Ortbal, Kathryn and Schwartz, Myron and Sterner, Glenn and Shuffstall, William, Promoting Fair Local Organizing for Broadband Delivery: Suggestions for Community-Level Action in Persistently Underserved Communities (August 15, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2130311 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2130311

Michael Fortunato (Contact Author)

Sam Houston State University ( email )

1803 Ave I
Huntsville, TX 77341
United States

Jeffrey Bridger

The Pennsylvania State University ( email )

Harrisburg, PA
United States

Theodore R. Alter

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

Grace Emmerling

The Pennsylvania State University ( email )

Harrisburg, PA
United States

Kathryn Ortbal

The Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

Myron Schwartz

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Glenn Sterner

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

William Shuffstall

Penn State Extension, Economic and Community Development ( email )

7B Armsby Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States
814-865-5665 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
376
Abstract Views
1,012
rank
76,132
PlumX Metrics