NSF taps IIP to initiate dialogue on broadband research agenda

By Steve Sampsell
June 02, 2016

The National Science Federation (NSF) has identified the Institute for Information Policy (IIP) at Penn State to initiate a dialogue about national broadband research. The IIP will kick off the initiative with a two-day workshop featuring leading experts in academia and government June 16-17 outside Washington, D.C.

A presidential memorandum in March 2015 appointed the Broadband Opportunity Council, which called on federal agencies to “improve data collection, analysis and research on broadband.” In the council’s August 2015 report, it directed the NSF and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to “develop a national research agenda, prototype advanced applications and improve data collection, analysis and research on broadband.” 

The NSF subsequently tapped the IIP to help drive that effort, with the workshop, “Broadband 2021,” at NSF headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, as a key component of the process. This is not the first time the IIP has partnered with governmental agencies on national initiatives. In 2014, the IIP was the first university-affiliated center to co-sponsor a workshop with the Federal Communications Commission on its premises. 

The upcoming invitation-only workshop will focus on three areas of discussion: advanced broadband technology; programs, services and applications that drive broadband utilization; and assessment of economic, social and educational impacts (including aspects of broadband opportunity related to adoption, availability and access).

The workshop’s outcomes will be presented in a report to the council, which will be released in the fall. Organizers hope the report’s timing will position it to guide the new administration in its endeavors to support broadband deployment and use. The goal is to produce impacts by the end of the 2017-2021 term -- prompting the workshop’s name, “Broadband 2021.”

The workshop is being organized by IIP co-directors Carleen Maitland and Krishna Jayakar. They have extensive experience researching organizational, social and policy challenges of information and communication technology adoption, deployment and use. They are being assisted in workshop planning by Laura Verinder of Verinder and Associates Inc. The workshop and report will be developed in collaboration with three distinguished scholars -- Jon Peha of Carnegie Mellon University (technology), Sharon Strover of the University of Texas (access/use) and Johannes Bauer of Michigan State (impacts).

The IIP, co-housed in the College of Communications and the College of Information Sciences and Technology, conducts groundbreaking research and innovative programs on the social implications of information technology, with an emphasis on the potential of information technologies for improving democratic discourse, social responsibility and quality of life. 

Since its formation, the IIP has receive approximately $2.3 million in external support, not including in-kind contributions. Since 2011, its twice-a-year workshops have brought together experts from across the globe to share research on issues of information policy.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 02, 2016