Professor’s Research Explores Digital Divide in Broadband Access
Professor’s Research Explores Digital Divide in Broadband Access

by Karen Grava
Director of Media Relations

Eun-A Park, an assistant professor of communications, film and theatre, is one of the investigators working with an international team of researchers studying the digital divide in broadband access.

The project is funded by a $41,200 yearlong grant from the Pacific Telecommunications Council to lead a multi-university, international effort to examine broadband access programs and policies for people with disabilities. Krishna Jayakar, an associate professor in the College of Communications at Pennsylvania State University, is leading the project.

Eun-A Park

Titled "A Broadband Bridge for the Disability Divide: What Works and What Does Not," the project focuses on broadband access for people with disabilities in leading economic areas of the Asia-Pacific region.

The work has a potentially far-reaching impact as researchers examine how to best assist traditionally underserved populations at a time when access to high-speed Internet has become ever more important in the daily lives of people across the world.

The team includes Jayakar, the principal investigator; Park; and researchers from the Curtin University in Australia and Southwest Jiaotong University in China. Team members hope to identify programs that can be models for other countries.

The project is expected to be completed next spring and will be distributed to regulators and other researchers at several international conferences such as the 2013 Pacific Telecommunications Council Convention.

Park, who is responsible for the South Korea case study, examined public policy in South Korea. She noted that five percent of the entire population, or 2.5 million people, are considered disabled. Most could benefit from broadband access.

She is the author of several papers published in “Telecommunications Policy, Info” and “Government Information Quarterly.”

Before beginning her academic career, Park was a researcher for the Korea Information Society Development Institute (KISDI), a governmental institute in South Korea, and published numerous analytical reports for the South Korean government and industry. KISDI’s research results were used as input in designing Korean economic policies in the area of information and communication.

Park’s research interests center on new media, media convergence, broadband competition policy and universal service. She received her Ph.D. in mass communication from Pennsylvania State University.

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