Research and Evaluation for Community Advocates

Project Highlights


Adoption PERSISTENCE: A longitudinal study of the digital inclusion impact of the Connect Your Community Project.

The Connect Your Community Project was a 19 million-dollar federal stimulus grant project funded through NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) that served to train, equip and connect over 33,000 participants nationally (5,500 in the Cleveland area alone).  In 2012, the project leadership team (Bill Callahan and Samantha Schartman-Cycyk) conducted a program impact study of Project Participants.  This newly released report by Connected Insights describes the findings of the recent follow-up survey which recontacted 429 Cleveland-based residents/past project participants who had also responded to the 2012 survey.

The findings contained in the study not only prove that high-touch community-based digital literacy programs are successful in closing the digital divide, our study shows that the impact of such projects continue even after they are over.  These findings will provide useful insights for any digital inclusion program manager who is interested in learning of additional ways to measure community impact, stretch resources, and grow participation and engagement.

Read the full report:

Creating Opportunity Through Connectivity:
How Mobile Broadband for Anchor Institutions Impacts Communities

 The nonprofit sector nationally supports and serves millions of people and causes that better our society, the environment, and lives of individuals and families. Community anchor institutions (CAIs), including schools, universities, libraries, museums, healthcare organizations, and other nonprofits organizations, are increasingly recognized for their role as influencers and contributors to a community’s prosperity. Providing high-capacity bandwidth to CAIs enables these organizations to become catalysts for increasing their communities’ digital literacy, broadband deployment, and adoption. Given the number of individuals a CAI impacts, one broadband connection has a social, educational, and economic multiplier effect (Internet2, 2016). While it remains a national priority to connect CAIs with wired gigabit connections, mobile broadband also plays an important role in creating connected communities.

Mobile Beacon’s service is unique in that it provides $10/month, mobile, uncapped, and unthrottled service exclusively to CAIs. A ordable, anytime/anywhere connectivity gives these organizations an essential tool to ful ll their missions and maximize their philanthropic impact. Mobile Beacon’s clients are not restricted in the amount of data they can use in a given month, nor does their service slow or stop after reaching a certain data allotment. In this way, examining the online behaviors of CAIs using Mobile Beacon’s service provides rare insight into the demand for mobile broadband data since they use the data they need – not just what they can a ord. We note, however, that overall demand for mobile broadband is expected to grow by 23%, and so the documented data usage in this report should be seen as a benchmark from which these projections should be kept in mind (Cisco, 2016).

Read the full report:

Bridging the Gap:
What Affordable, Uncapped Internet Means for Digital Inclusion

Digital inequality is a persistent challenge in our increasingly online society. Though more content and services continue to be driven online, there are still 34 million Americans without access to the internet. While there are multiplex barriers to connectivity, the two main drivers that affect a person’s ability to participate online are the availability of service and the ability to afford it. With average broadband costs in the United States soaring to $90/month (per a 2013 study by the BBC (Geoghegan, 2013)), the price tag for internet access remains out-of-reach for many low- income Americans.1

People’s access to technology has become an important part of every effort to fight hunger, poverty, inequality, and countless other social causes. Thousands of community anchor institutions providing resources and services to help people become self-sufficient are finding innovative ways to help more families get online. One such nonprofit-led program is Bridging the Gap. Created by PCs for People and Mobile Beacon, this program provides refurbished computers and $10 – $13/month uncapped, unthrottled, high- speed mobile broadband service to individuals and families below the 200% poverty level.

Read the full report here: