2013 Research Announcement

2012 Research Announcement Now Available | Next Deadline: April 1, 2012
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Research Topics for 2013
Proposals should address one of the following areas:

1. The end-user experience for broadband services

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, more attention is being paid to the consumer experience. For service providers, it is essential to make it simpler and easier for customers to enjoy the benefits of broadband any time, any place, on any device. Key questions include identifying service characteristics consumers consider in evaluating broadband performance, the role of accessibility in design and engineering, how best to encourage innovation in services and business models, the role of pricing and packaging of services, and how best to meet the needs of diverse communities.

2. Network reliability, security, and privacy

Network operators have been investing substantially in their networks to facilitate and accommodate advanced technologies, and evaluating how best to increase capacity and provide expanded broadband capabilities. Understanding how to balance increasing demands on the broadband platform while also addressing important requirements for reliability, security, and privacy pose important challenges. Key questions include the future of network design and engineering, the future of the home networking environment, and the future challenges of cybersecurity.

3. Internet governance

Internet governance is still largely framed by the way the Internet existed when it first became a mass-market phenomenon in the late 1990s. But more users rely on advanced digital communications for a diverse set of uses today. Networks and devices are more varied and more powerful than expected. And the Internet now supports a vast range of business models and drives economic growth . In this environment, the role of government and other intermediaries in framing and addressing policy goals continues to change. Key questions include examining the need for new methods of collaboration in mulit-stakeholder processes, examining the role of standard-setting, how to measure and assess the performance of the broadband Internet, developing metrics that are meaningful to a wide range of stakeholders (from industry and policymakers to consumers), how to develop new forms of governance that convene stakeholders to solve problems cooperatively, and how to develop guidelines that protect settled expectations as well as enable continuing entry and innovation.

4. The future of localism in communications policy

The promotion of localism has long been a focus of communications policy in this country. As consumers migrate away from traditional media such as newspapers. broadcast television, and radio, with many preferring to obtain news and information from the Internet, the effects of that transition remain subject to debate. Consumers undoubtedly have access to more information than ever before, allowing diverse voices to be heard as never before. But as traditional media encounter shrinking audiences and advertising bases, they will be challenged to deliver the high-quality local content. Key questions include the impact of migrating locally oriented programming to the Internet and cable television, how to measure and promote “localism”, and addressing regulatory barriers to creation and delivery of content to meet the needs of local communities.

5. Video Convergence and Internet Video

Online video is growing rapidly, comprising an increasing proportion of Internet traffic even as workable business models continue to evolve. Internet video thus increasingly competes with more traditional video services, while at the same time placing extraordinary burdens on the broadband networks owned and operated by those competitors. This emerging development raises a host of issues for video competition and regulation as well as for broadband policy. Key questions include how to identify and respond to the challenges posed by Internet delivery of video, and identifying the marketplace, legal and policy barriers that stand in the way of innovation in video service delivery.

6. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education

While there has been a revolution in digital communications in the past couple of decades, it is not clear that educators (both in-school and out-of-school) have been able to take advantage of it to its fullest. Digital technology can help to bridge the gap by connecting people in less-advantaged situations with others to form learning communities that can be more equitable. This is especially crucial for STEM education as 80% of all future careers will demand knowledge of science and technology. In particular, the out-of-school-time space (afterschool programs and museums for example) represents a learning space and time that receives very little attention and resources. Questions for further study include but how can digital communications capabilities expand beyond the limited set of educational offerings available today? how can technology be utilized to provide ongoing/on-demand professional development to educators? how can technology be utilized to connect out-of-school learning programs so that geography does not determine the quality of educational opportunities and exposure?