Dr. Colin Rhinesmith has been named faculty research fellow at the Benton Foundation.
Rhinesmith will conduct original research and advise on other research opportunities, his first task being a study of low-cost Internet and digital literacy training, both of which the FCC are encouraging as a way to boost broadband deployment to underserved and unserved areas. Both the FCC and Congress are talking about ways to reform the Universal Service Fund broadband subsidies, including the Lifeline subsidy to low-income Americans.
"At a time when federal regulators are considering addressing the digital divide by refocusing the FCC’s Lifeline program," said Benton Foundation executive director Adrianne B. Furniss in a statement. "Benton is investing in research to support data-driven policy decisions rather than divisive ‘Obamaphone’-type rhetoric. We need the best thinking to reach and connect those who have yet to embrace the Internet."
Rhinesmith is an assistant professor of library and information studies at the University of Oklahoma who has been researching digital inclusion and broadband adoption.
The Benton Foundation promotes media and telecom in the public interest, with a focus on diversity, access and inclusion.