NSF Broadband Research 2020 Report

11/06/2021
by   Henning Schulzrinne, et al.
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The internet has become a critical communications infrastructure, and access is among the “assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, [that] are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof.” [CISA] But the internet is more than an issue for the nation as a whole. Internet access affects the security, health, safety, and opportunities in life for individuals and communities, and the economic vitality of businesses everywhere. On the one hand, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the success of broadband access in allowing society to function, even during lockdowns. On the other hand, the pandemic has exposed weak, unreliable, or even nonexistent, broadband access and usability in many areas and for many individuals, including especially rural residents and children in many school districts, urban, and rural, as well as a compelling need for universal reach and affordability. It was thus timely that in November 2020, the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored a series of workshops to identify new research areas to drive the broadband NSF agenda for the next five years. This request followed similar initiatives during the past twenty years, the most recent in 2016. This Broadband Research Workshop Report of 2021 discusses the research questions and challenges that need to be addressed to provide robust, affordable, and meaningful broadband access to every resident of the United States.

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