Project Title

Wireless Access: A Barrier to Entry?

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CCSE - Data Science and Analytics

Faculty Sponsor Name

Susan Mathews Hardy

Not a human studies project. I surveyed internet speeds at libraries.

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Georgia libraries receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding each year to provide high-speed Internet access. However, the FCC Internet access maps used to allocate these funds are inaccurate. In 2018, Georgia State Senator Steven Gooch authored and obtained passage of a bill that allowed Georgia to create its own broadband maps focusing on individual locations instead of census tracts. My research adds to this ongoing effort in Georgia by focusing on how the lack of broadband access affects the areas where Kennesaw State University (KSU) students live. I visited 11 counties that had 500 or more KSU students. I measured upload and download speeds at multiple public libraries in each county. The majority of these counties had broadband access that is well below the FCC threshold of 25 Mbps download for adequate broadband. This presents an invisible barrier to education for KSU students who live in these counties, many of whom commute to school.

I discovered this issue for students in Summer 2019, when a fellow student had to walk to the end of his driveway to be able to access the two-factor authentication system that KSU employs. As someone passionate about people and technology, I am concerned with how the lack of access to resources, like cellular service or Internet access at home, affect student success.

Our access to the Internet is becoming more and more integral to our lives—from job applications to turning in assignments and learning new skills. Connecting the Internet to the people of Georgia is connecting the people of Georgia to the world. As of October 2019, 1.6 million Georgia residents do not have access to high speed Internet. The FCC and the State of Georgia are working on changing that. I hope my research will help.

Project Type

Poster

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Wireless Access: A Barrier to Entry?

Georgia libraries receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding each year to provide high-speed Internet access. However, the FCC Internet access maps used to allocate these funds are inaccurate. In 2018, Georgia State Senator Steven Gooch authored and obtained passage of a bill that allowed Georgia to create its own broadband maps focusing on individual locations instead of census tracts. My research adds to this ongoing effort in Georgia by focusing on how the lack of broadband access affects the areas where Kennesaw State University (KSU) students live. I visited 11 counties that had 500 or more KSU students. I measured upload and download speeds at multiple public libraries in each county. The majority of these counties had broadband access that is well below the FCC threshold of 25 Mbps download for adequate broadband. This presents an invisible barrier to education for KSU students who live in these counties, many of whom commute to school.

I discovered this issue for students in Summer 2019, when a fellow student had to walk to the end of his driveway to be able to access the two-factor authentication system that KSU employs. As someone passionate about people and technology, I am concerned with how the lack of access to resources, like cellular service or Internet access at home, affect student success.

Our access to the Internet is becoming more and more integral to our lives—from job applications to turning in assignments and learning new skills. Connecting the Internet to the people of Georgia is connecting the people of Georgia to the world. As of October 2019, 1.6 million Georgia residents do not have access to high speed Internet. The FCC and the State of Georgia are working on changing that. I hope my research will help.