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Distance Learning and Online Coordination of Service in Pennsylvania’s Rural School Districts

December 14, 2022  | Education

The purpose of this research was to: 1) understand the specific problems that rural school districts encountered during the pandemic; 2) learn how these districts responded to their unique challenges; and 3) identify the policies, practices, and resources that are needed for Pennsylvania rural schools to be better prepared for the next emergency that could close schools for an extended period.

Executive Summary

Tags:  distance learning , rural schools , 1:1 computing devices , teacher shor , state and federal regulations , teacher shortages , mental health , broadband

Pennsylvania Broadband Access: A Speed Test Analysis

February 11, 2022  | Infrastructure

Access to affordable broadband technology has been a long-standing challenge for many rural Pennsylvanians. In November 2021, the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act set aside $65 billion to improve access to high-speed internet across the nation. Part of that act requires states to prioritize projects for those with the most limited access to broadband connections. The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 96 of 2021 shortly after the federal law. Act 96 established the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority to improve internet access across the Commonwealth.


Tags:  broadband , internet


Broadband Demand: The Cost and Price Elasticity of Broadband Internet Service in Rural Pennsylvania

November 30, 2020  | Infrastructure

This year-long research project surveyed rural and urban Pennsylvanians about their willingness to pay for high-speed broadband service. It provides a unique first look into factors that continue to create substantial barriers to closing the digital divide. The researchers surveyed 1,446 Pennsylvania residents in May and June 2020. They used a hybrid telephone/SMS (short message service, or “text messaging”) survey that asked respondents about the type of internet technology available to them, broadband pricing, and willingness to pay for 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) broadband.

Executive Summary

Tags:  willingness to pay , broadband pricing , broadband , internet

Attitudinal Survey of Pennsylvanians, 2019 (2020)

May 09, 2020  | Rural People and Communities

To best serve their communities, policymakers must know the current attitudes of the people who live in their communities. The Center for Rural Pennsylvania sponsored attitudinal surveys of rural and urban Pennsylvanians to learn more about their attitudes on a variety of long-standing and timely issues. The results indicate several areas of consensus in rural and urban attitudes, but also identify a few rural and urban differences. Most respondents in both rural and urban communities had similar attitudes about issues in their local communities, communities across Pennsylvania, and the performance of the government. The one key difference was that rural respondents identified the availability of jobs as the most important issue while urban respondents identified maintenance of roads and bridges as the most important issue.  The importance of expanding broadband internet access was a higher priority for both rural and urban respondents than in previous surveys. 

Executive Summary

Tags:  community , government , jobs , broadband , attitudes


Broadband Availability and Access in Rural Pennsylvania (2019)

June 04, 2019  | Infrastructure

This year-long research effort focused on precisely measuring median broadband speeds within specific geographic areas, and on identifying the extent of variances between the "official" estimates of broadband availability and broadband speed measurements. This provides a considerable level of documentation and insight into the state of broadband connectivity experienced by rural residents across Pennsylvania. The projects team's archival research documents that broadband connectivity has been successfully deployed to previously underserved communities, both within Pennsylvania and across the country, using a diverse array of business models. 

Executive Summary

Tags:  broadband


Introducing the Center's new journal, Rural Policy: The Research Bulletin of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.