Christopher Ali


Pioneers Chair in Telecommunications


  • Telecommunications

Focus Areas:

  • Broadband Policy
  • Media Localism
  • Telecommunications Policy


  • Specializes in telecommunications policy and regulation and broadband policy and deployment in the United States, specifically in rural areas.
  • Author of “Farm Fresh Broadband: The Politics of Rural Connectivity,” which examines the complicated terrain of rural broadband policy in the U.S. and why millions of rural Americans lack broadband access.

Christopher Ali is the Pioneers Chair in Telecommunications and professor of telecommunications in Penn State’s Bellisario College of Communications. His research focuses on broadband policy and deployment, specifically in rural America, and media industries. Current projects include “broadband stories” for policymaking, digital equity and inclusion planning, and Americans’ investments into the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Ali’s research has appeared in leading academic journals, including Communication Theory, Media Culture & Society, and Telecommunications Policy. He also is the author of two books, “Media Localism: The Policies of Place” and “Farm Fresh Broadband: The Politics of Rural Connectivity.” Based on his expertise, Ali has been called on to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee on broadband funding and policy programs. He has also briefed members of the House Democrats Task Force on Rural Broadband, the New York State Blue Ribbon Commission on Re-Imagining New York, and has presented before numerous state and county governments. He is currently an associate editor of the journal Communication Law & Policy and he previously served as chair of the Communication Law and Policy Division of the International Communication Association, and a workstream co-lead on the Federal Communication Commission’s Communication Equity and Diversity Council.

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