Gant to speak at MSU on evaluation of digital inclusion initiatives

Jon Gant, research associate professor and director of the Center for Digital Inclusion, will speak Monday at Michigan State University’s Quello Center for Telecommunication Management and Law.

His talk, “Hugs, Handshakes and High Fives: Strategies for Evaluating the Impact of Digital Inclusion Using Data from the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program,” will provide an overview of lessons learned from evaluation studies of broadband initiatives in the United States.

A great deal of funding has been devoted to stimulating the development of broadband Internet infrastructures and services in the US. Federally funded initiatives have been studied and evaluated through dozens of studies. Gant will discuss the lessons learned from efforts to evaluate the impact of broadband Internet initiatives.

The visit is hosted by Quello Center Director William H. Dutton, who delivered the 2016 Windsor Lecture at GSLIS.

Gant is a national leader in broadband research and evaluation, specializing in analyzing the social and economic impact of broadband, telecommunication, and digital literacy investments. He has published groundbreaking research on Internet access and adoption across the US, including coauthoring the first report to examine broadband adoption among minority communities.

Under Gant's direction, the Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI) is helping to incubate new applications that will run on ultra-high speed broadband networks. CDI is developing new models of digital inclusion for communities through the Illinois Digital Innovation Leadership Program, a partnership with University of Illinois Extension and C-U FabLab. Gant is the board chair and a former director of Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B), a $30-million dollar project dedicated to building one of the fastest broadband networks in the country.

Gant also is a specialist in e-government, geospatial information systems, strategic planning, and information systems, and teaches a variety of courses on these subjects. The Institute of Museum and Library Services, Organization for Economic Coordination and Development, International Telecommunication Union, and National Science Foundation are among funders of Gant’s research. He received his MS and PhD degrees from the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied public policy and information management.

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