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TPRC brings together researchers, policymakers, and industry experts

Washington D.C. (September 23, 2019) - Last weekend, nearly 350 researchers, policymakers, and industry experts from across the globe came together at American University’s Washington College of Law for the 47th annual Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC). Chris McGovern, Connected Nation’s Director of Research Development, was among those presenting their insights on the policy, engineering, and legal ramifications for broadband in the United States and abroad.

“TPRC is always a great conference,” McGovern said. “It brings together experts from academia, internet providers, and government decision-makers. We get to share ideas, explore different areas of expertise, and see what’s on the minds of people with whom they may not normally interact. There are always a variety of individuals looking at a wide variety of issues from many different angles. The result is some exciting synergy and a lot of spirited debates.”

Researchers came from universities like Stanford, Michigan State, and others across the United States and abroad. Topics of discussion ranged from steps to increase broadband adoption in low-income and tribal areas, antitrust enforcement and privacy needs; the promise and challenges of 5G wireless service, and more.

The keynote speaker, the Honorable Jerry McNerney (U.S. Representative for California's 9th district), exemplified this as he spoke on topics ranging from the ethics of artificial intelligence, ways that politics impact the technology that we use, and the importance of promoting digital literacy to help individuals compete in today’s workforce.

For his part, McGovern shared a preview of CN’s latest research on telehealth usage and its impact on communities. “People who are using telehealth applications are saving time and money. Telehealth tools like scheduling appointments online; video consultations with experts; and remote monitoring of vital signs are particularly important for rural residents who may have to drive an hour or more to get to a hospital. To make those tools available, though, people need to be able to access broadband, they need to have the skills, and they need to feel comfortable using those tools.”

McGovern says that telehealth is an important topic of interest to a wide variety of audiences, making it a good topic for TPRC. “CN has partnered with the Michigan Health Endowment Fund and AARP to conduct this research, and organizations from healthcare providers to economic development professionals have shared their insights; getting to discuss these topics with policy experts and major internet service providers provided some different insights into the different elements that will need to come together to make telehealth tools available to everyone.”

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To read more about TPRC 47, you can visit the conference website at CN will release a report later this year showing off these findings and more from its research on telehealth usage in rural Michigan. You can follow our research and policy findings on our website at

About the author: Chris McGovern is the Director of Research Development for Connected Nation. Chris works with Connected Nation staff and external stakeholders to develop research deliverables and provide critical analysis. He uses qualitative and quantitative techniques to interpret data, formulate reports, and make substantiated recommendations based on research findings.