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Responsive Communities

Responsive Communities addresses the most important issues of social justice, civil liberties, and economic development involving Internet access and government use of data. The initiative offers a forum for meaningful engagement across academia, government, and industry. Through a cross-disciplinary approach, including law, public policy, business, engineering, and design, and a combination of academic and applied efforts, we work to shape communities that are fully connected and truly responsive to people's needs. ​

We address the barriers to ubiquitous, affordable, high-speed Internet access as matters of social justice and economic policy, with the goal of shaping communities that optimize the benefits that Internet access can bring.

We foster collaboration among faculty, staff, and students, as well as engagement with policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels.

Big Data
We advise communities, governments, and citizen groups on the uses and governance of data, and we promote best practices for managing data for the greatest social good.

Our Work 11

Apr 2, 2019

"Public sector should lead on broadband"

There is good reason to believe municipal broadband would result in cost savings to citizens More

Mar 27, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

Dividing Lines

Why Is Internet Access Still Considered a Luxury in America?

Internet access is a major social and economic justice issue of our time. Dividing Lines, a four-part documentary video series, sheds a light on who is being left behind as big… More

Jan 10, 2018

Community-Owned Fiber Networks: Value Leaders in America

Pricing Review Shows They Provide Least-Expensive Local "Broadband"

Our examination of advertised prices shows that community-owned fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in the United States generally charge less for entry-level broadband service than… More

Oct 5, 2017

Enabling Competition & Innovation on a City Fiber Network

The municipally owned fiber-optic network of Ammon, Idaho provides one model for U.S. public entities and policymakers seeking to increase service competition and innovation. More

Aug 25, 2017

Algorithms in the Criminal Justice System

Assessing the Use of Risk Assessments in Sentencing

This paper focuses on the incorporation of risk assessment software into the criminal sentencing process, and offers a set of key considerations and questions for further research… More

Apr 25, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

Meeting 21st Century Municipal Internet Access Needs

Perspectives from Boston City Hall and Brookline on City and Regional Infrastructure Planning

Hosted by Responsive Communities, a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. More

Feb 27, 2017

Open Data Privacy Playbook

This report codifies responsible privacy-protective open data approaches and processes that could be adopted by cities and other government organizations. More

Feb 6, 2017

Smart Grid Paybacks: The Chattanooga Example

After building a fiber optic network throughout its service territory, the city-owned electric utility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2010 became the first U.S. company to offer… More

Feb 6, 2017

Citizens Take Charge: Concord, Massachusetts, Builds a Fiber Network

In this case study, the authors describe the municipal smart grid and fiber-to-the-home Internet access project in the town of Concord, Massachusetts, and quantify early paybacks… More

Apr 20, 2016

WiredWest: a Cooperative of Municipalities Forms to Build a Fiber Optic Network

Western Massachusetts Towns Create a New Model for Last-Mile Connectivity, but a State Agency Delays Approval and Funding

A new case study from the Berkman Center's Municipal Fiber Initiative profiles a group of Western Massachusetts towns who have created a new model for last-mile connectivity. More

Apr 14, 2016

Maximizing K-12 Fiber Connectivity Through E-Rate: An Overview

An evaluation of self-construction, dark fiber, and lit fiber options for school districts following recent enhancements to E-rate

This new toolkit provides school system leaders the guidance to understand and leverage the federal E-rate program, which provides up to $3.9 billion annually to subsidize the… More

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