Nebraska Rural Digital Divide Roundtable, Call for Papers and Research Proposals
On March 20 and 21 (NOTE: UPDATED), 2020, the University of Nebraska College of Law will host its third annual roundtable on closing the rural digital divide. As in previous years, this event will bring together regional and national stakeholders for a by-invitation discussion of the challenges of, and the status of solutions to, closing the rural digital divide. A general call for participants for this discussion will be circulated around the beginning of the new year.

This year, we are expanding this event to also feature a one-day research roundtable for academic and other researchers who are conducting empirical studies of the rural digital divide. The purpose of this discussion is to bring together researchers to share works-in-progress with both other researchers and regional stakeholders that are in a position to provide on-the-ground feedback to these researchers.

We anticipate selecting 5 to 8 projects for discussion at this research roundtable. Ideally projects will be at an early enough stage that feedback can be readily incorporated into ongoing work, but far enough along that substantive discussion will be possible. We have a strong preference for projects that are addressing discrete, empirical, questions, and anticipate awarding research honoraria of up to $5000 to projects selected for participation. This is in addition to covering travel costs for participants to join us for this event.

Example topics include cost studies of rural wireless deployments, comparative studies of the effects of ACAM funding, event studies of legislative interventions such as allowing customers unserved by carriers in their home exchange to request service from carriers in adjoining exchanges, comparative studies of the effectiveness of various federal and state funding mechanisms, and cost studies of different sorts of municipal deployments. This list is far from exhaustive.

Projects can be submitted for consideration using this form and should be submitted no later than November 18, 2019. Selected papers and awards of research honoraria will be announced by December 9, 2019.

We thank those who have worked with us to make this event a success over the past two years –including Comcast, the International Center for Law and Economics, Microsoft, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, the Nebraska Telecommunications Association, and the University of Nebraska’s Rural Futures Institute – and look forward to continuing to partner with these and others in the community to continue supporting efforts to close the rural digital divide.

Please contact Gus Hurwitz (  or Elsbeth Magilton ( with any questions.
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Email *
Your name *
Your (primary) institutional affiliation *
Title of the paper or project that you are proposing *
Brief description of the paper or project that you are proposing (including the research question and methodology) *
Do you have any co-authors or collaborators working on this project (if so, provide names) *
What is the current status of this project (note, we do not have a preference for projects of any given status, other than that they will be able to incorporate feedback provided at the March event)? *
What obstacles do you anticipate to completing this project? What resources do you  anticipate needing to complete this project? (optional)
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