Archives: Open Technology Institute Policy Papers

The Art of the Possible: An Overview of Public Broadband Options

  • By
  • Benjamin Lennett,
  • Patrick Lucey,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Joanne Hovis and Andrew Afflerbach, CTC
May 6, 2014
Broadband has become a critical infrastructure for communities in the 21st century. From a variety of sectors, including commerce, education, healthcare and government services, the demands for more advanced, reliable, and affordable broadband is challenging local governments to develop effective strategies for connecting their citizens, businesses, and institutions.

A Network Model of Broadband Adoption: Using Twitter to Document Detroit Future

  • By
  • Joshua Breitbart,
  • Greta Byrum,
  • Georgia Bullen,
  • Kayshin Chan,
  • New America Foundation
May 1, 2014

From 2010 to 2012, the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition (DDJC) conducted a federally-funded training program in digital media that they called “Detroit Future.” The purpose of the program was to use broadband adoption as a means of strengthening economic development and community organizing in Detroit. To that end, the DDJC developed a “networked” model of broadband adoption as part of its implementation of the program. The coalition documented the program with the Twitter hashtag #detroitfuture.

Uncontrolled Global Surveillance: Updating Export Controls to the Digital Age

  • By
  • Tim Maurer,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Edin Omanovic, Research Officer, Privacy International; Ben Wagner, Researcher, European University Institute
March 24, 2014

In 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported “the annual value of the retail market for surveillance tools has increased from ‘nearly zero’ in 2001 to around $5 billion a year.” The Arab Uprising and the fallen regimes’ documents that became public in the aftermath shed light on this growing industry. Some authorities employed this technology for political control and to facilitate internal repression, the suppression of the media and civil society, and other violations of fundamental human rights.

Brief: Methodology for Identifying and Addressing Urban Areas with Low Broadband Adoption

  • By
  • Greta Byrum,
  • Joshua Breitbart,
  • Georgia Bullen,
  • New America Foundation
March 13, 2014
This brief describes the different phases of research to prepare for planning and managing broadband interventions at various scales. Using this guide, researchers can compile geospatial broadband profiles including environmental and demographic data, local community assets, and available technical infrastructure.

Connected Communities in an Age of Digital Learning

  • By
  • Danielle Kehl,
  • Sarah Morris,
  • Lindsey Tepe,
  • New America Foundation
February 26, 2014
​The need to upgrade America’s Internet infrastructure to support innovative digital learning tools and services has never been greater. In the past year, members of Congress, Federal Communications Commissioners, and President Obama have all recognized the issue, publicly calling for an expansion of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) E-rate program to provide next-generation Internet connectivity to schools and libraries across the country.

Reining in the Cost of Connectivity

  • By
  • Nick Russo,
  • Patrick Lucey,
  • Danielle Kehl,
  • Hibah Hussain,
  • New America Foundation
January 15, 2014

Below you will find the text of Reining in the Cost of Connectivity: Policies for Better Broadband in 2014, a policy paper from the Open Technology Institute that examines America's broadband challenges. This paper builds on data from The Cost of Connectivity 2013, a survey of high-speed Internet prices in 24 cities worldwide.

Translating Norms to the Digital Age

  • By
  • Danielle Kehl,
  • Tim Maurer,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Sonia Phene
December 4, 2013
Increasingly, the free flow of information and the ability to communicate is considered a human right that needs to be protected online as well as offline, especially in the most repressive countries in the world. The 2009 Green Movement in Iran and the Arab Spring were powerful examples of the new technological reality we live in. However, comprehensive U.S.

Journalist Involvement in Comment Sections

  • By Natalie Jomini Stroud, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Assistant Director of Research at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin; Joshua M. Scacco, Research Assistants at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin; Ashley Muddiman, Assistant Professor in the Communication and Journalism Department at the University of Wyoming; and Alex Curry, Research Assistant at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin
November 20, 2013

Incivility can run rampant in online comment sections. From a democratic angle, incivility on news sites creates reasons for concern. Social science research finds that incivility in the news depresses trust in government institutions. Even more, incivility in comment sections can affect readers’ beliefs. Calling this the “nasty effect,” University of Wisconsin Professors Brossard and Scheufele find that uncivil reader comments can change what people think about the news itself.

Online Polls and Quizzes

  • By Natalie Jomini Stroud, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Assistant Director of Research at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin; Joshua Scacco, Research Assistant at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life; and Ashley Muddiman, Assistant Professor in the Communication & Journalism Department, University of Wyoming
November 20, 2013

Many news websites feature online polls. These polls typically ask site visitors about their opinions, such as whether they favor or oppose a new policy or who they think is likely to win an upcoming election. Online quizzes, where people are asked factual questions and then are told whether their responses are correct or incorrect, are less common. Both online polls and quizzes can be entertaining for site visitors, and can increase site visits and time spent on a page.

Social Media Buttons in Comment Sections

  • By Natalie Jomini Stroud, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Assistant Director of Research at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin; and Ashley Muddiman and Joshua Scacco, Research Assistants at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin
November 20, 2013

“Like.” Not only is it frequently used in casual conversations, the term also governs how we respond to everything from news articles to comments from our closest friends on Facebook. The term structures responses to online content. A heartwarming story about a local hero? “Like!” But “Like” doesn’t always seem appropriate. An article on a tragic event? It’s hard to hit “Like” in response. A fair-minded, but counter-attitudinal, post in a comment section? It’s challenging to press “Like.” What if news stations used other buttons?

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