Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide
Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide (PPDD) had its roots during the 2000 National Communication Association (NCA) Annual Convention where exchanges of particular note took place among communication scholars and leaders of the primary policymaking and practitioner constituencies at the forefront of the effort to bridge the digital divide. Continuing the work and collaborations that then began under the auspices of the NCA Task Force on the Digital Divide, and with former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Larry Irving as Honorary Director, PPDD was founded in 2002 as a free-standing not-for-profit organization.
PPDD engages a broad diversity of individuals and organizations to spearhead a multi-associational, multi-disciplinary partnership among scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to make significant contributions in closing the digital divide and addressing the many other challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age. PPDD reaches across disciplinary boundaries and beyond academia to various other disciplines and groups in the U.S. and abroad who share interests, methods, and goals and want to work with PPDD to build on that common ground to find solutions to these pressing societal concerns.
PPDD works in many ways to achieve its mission, including:
- PPDD holds a biennial series of international conferences that brings researchers, policymakers, and practitioners into dialogue, catalyzes collaborations and cross-fertilization, and identifies new areas of necessary, productive research focus to foster greater understanding and enlighten policy and practice going forward. As a major outcome of those conferences, to create a powerful critical mass of high-quality interdisciplinary scholarship that can serve as a deep resource and driver of future innovation, PPDD is producing edited volumes of the top papers as well as special issues of journals on specific themes within the digital divide area.
- PPDD has established a tradition of building on the successful and synergistic collaborations it forged between NCA and other diverse academic disciplines and among scholars, practitioners, and policymakers by composing an annual series of invited panels for the NCA Annual Convention that engages truly innovative ideas and high-profile leaders from inside and outside academia.
- PPDD has been actively involved with government, policymakers, and practitioners across a broad range, including submitting a “friend-of-the-court” brief to the U.S. Supreme Court to counsel on a recent case of major import for Americans’ access to the Internet in public libraries and advising the U.S. Federal Communications Commission as it developed and now implements the National Broadband Plan mandated by Congress. Most recently, PPDD provided comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the National Science Foundation to inform the development of the National Broadband Research Agenda, which will improve data collection, analysis, research, and their applications for the benefit of broadband policy development, program implementation, and program evaluation.