FEATURE: Get an overview of the rural broadband issue from expert Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D.

“The Digital Age is in full swing,” says Dr. Roberto Gallardo, assistant director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development. Hear from him about the importance of bringing rural and urban communities together to address the digital divide so that both can thrive.

In the United States, 10.4 percent of households and 34.2 percent of people living in non-metropolitan counties lack access to broadband, resulting in a missed opportunity of $22.5 billion per year.

“The conversation is circling around urban areas, and I believe that rural have a lot to gain as well,” said Gallardo. The Rural Futures Institute believes our complex future requires mutual respect and collaboration between rural and urban regions and communities.

Gallardo’s recent publication for the Purdue Center for Regional Development, titled “Broadband’s Impact,” summarizes technology’s impact on economic development, civic engagement, education, telework, telehealth and agriculture.

Gallardo also leads a 2017 RFI-funded research project titled, “Increasing Rural Civic Engagement in the Digital Age,” that seeks to increase civic engagement in three rural Nebraska communities by developing strategies and tactics for engaging in conversations online, as well as social media training, to assist rural communities in increasing and improving overall engagement.