Rural Computing Speaker Series – January 14 with Brianna Posadas

We are excited to welcome Dr. Brianna Posadas Assistant Professor of Integrated Technologies in Agriculture and Human Interactions at the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech. Dr. Posadas will be presenting her talk, “Big Data in Agriculture: Applications and Policy.” The talk will focus on the power asymmetries introduced by precision agriculture between farmers and agricultural technology providers, and what policymakers and designers can do moving forward to address these asymmetries. The full talk abstract and bio can be read over on our Events page.

The talk will be a virtual event held on Friday, January 14, 2022, 11am-12pm. You can register for the Zoom webinar here.

Rural Computing Speaker Series – October 22 with Phoebe Sengers

We are excited to welcome Phoebe Sengers, Associate Professor of Information Science and Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University, who will be presenting “How We Design Rural Communities Away: Historical Lessons from the Fishery.” The talk will focus on the impacts of technology on rural fishery communities in Canada and Iceland, and what the design of digital agriculture can learn from that history. The full talk abstract is on the poster below, or you can read about it on our Events page.

The talk will be a virtual event held on Friday, October 22, 11am-12pm. You can register for the Zoom webinar at

Flyer for October 22 talk.

Join Us for the Launch of the Consortium

Consider joining us on September 27 from 12-1pm ET for the official “Launch Party” of the Rural Computing Research Consortium. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we will be holding the event virtually. There will be a short presentation by our Director introducing the Consortium, its goals, upcoming events, and our affiliates. Following, we will break into smaller groups for networking around research interests.

RSVP for the event.

Rural Computing Speaker Series – September 10 with Christopher Ali

Please join us September 10 at 11am in ComArtSci Room 155 (and on Zoom, registration link TBD) for a talk from Christopher Ali, Associate Professor of Media Studies at University of Virginia, titled “When good (enough) is the enemy of great: Rural broadband in the United States.” This talk is co-sponsored by the Quello Center for Media & Information Policy.

Abstract: Drawn from the pages of my new book, Farm Fresh Broadband: The Politics of Rural Connectivity (MIT Press, September 2021), this talk will focus on the politics, policies, and political economies that have prevented broadband from being systematically and democratically deployed in rural areas of the United States. I will describe and contrast the failure of federal rural broadband policy with the resilience and tenacity of local communities and counties who have connected themselves despite a regulatory system that ignores them and a private commercial market that dismisses them. I argue that rural broadband policy has failed to connect rural communities because of an abundance of politics that favors the largest and loudest providers, and a policy apparatus that fails both to democratically allocate funding and to imagine para-market alternatives to broadband deployment such as co-operatives and public providers. Current federal broadband policy seems all too happy to encourage broadband in rural America that is only “good enough.” In contrast, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the country, and the world, that high-performance broadband is not a luxury or a novelty, but rather the essential infrastructure of the 21st century.

Bio: Dr. Christopher Ali is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia. His research focuses on telecommunications policy, broadband deployment, localism, local news, and critical political economy. Dr. Ali has published numerous peer reviewed articles in highly regarded international journals, along with bylines in The New York Times, Realtor Magazine, The Hill, and Digital Beat. Recently, he testified before the United States Senate Commerce Committee regarding rural broadband policy. Dr. Ali’s new book Farm Fresh Broadband: The Politics of Rural Connectivity (MIT Press, September 2021) critically analyzes rural broadband policy and explains why and how the federal government can spend billions of dollars a year on broadband and yet the rural-urban digital divide not only persists, but flourishes.