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In 2009, the Dept. of Commerce's BTOP agency, and the Dept. of Agriculture's RUS agency committed $7.5 billion to organizations and companies to deliver broadband infrastructure, adoption programs and computing centers to communities in need across the U.S. This week many of the BTOP grant recipients gather in Washington, DC to compare notes and progress at the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition's annual conference.
SHLB Executive Director John Windhausen gives us an overview of some of the successes and challenges of this year's attendees, as well as those of FCC broadband grant recipients. Patricia Campbell, Director of External Relations of the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education (KINBER) recently completed a 1600-mile middle mile network throughout Pennsylvania. KINBER is raising community awareness of broadband and economic development.
There have been good strides as middle mile projects concluded and focus shifts to community last mile efforts. Support programs are transitioning into self-sufficiency models, and FCC programs such as eRate are expanding infrastructure buildouts.
Digital inclusion - closing the technology gap between the have's and have not's - may be a priority for some federal and state agencies, but the delivery of measurable results happens mostly at the local level. This is particularly true for broadband. Too many variations between cultures, geography, economic priorities, languages and other factors exist for cookie cutter attempts to get underserved constituents online AND maximizing broadband technology.
A Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant to the City of Chicago launched activities to educate and motivate constituents within nine Smart Communities to use the Net. Karen Mossberger, Ph.D., School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University, describes the impacts of programs that included workshops, advertising, skills training, and community portals. Dr. Mossberger's team conducted surveys in 2008, 2011 and 2013 to compare adoption and usage between the Smart Communities and the rest of Chicago.
Listeners learn some of the how-to's for creating and implementing effective digital inclusion programs. In addition, Dr. Mossberger reveals some of the trendsetting methods she used to measure the results that adoption programs produce, as well as upcoming research that will shed more light on how to create successful programs.
It's back to school time once again. Time to pick up some pens, pencils, notebooks and...broadband?
Students in four Georgia counties probably can't wait to get back to school this Fall because they're going to have some of the fastest broadband speeds in the world, thanks to the broadband stimulus program. North Georgia Network (NGN), a nonprofit formed by five counties and two electric co-ops,has completed the 260-mile core ring of a network funded via a Dept. of Commerce BTOP grant.
NGN Executive Director Bruce Abraham is our guest. He gives listeners an overview of the network's success so far, who's being served currently and tips on what communities need to do to ensure the success of regional broadband projects.
Two years before the first broadband stimulus app was filed, OpenCape Corporation was formed and creating a plan for successful broadband deployment in Massachusetts' Cape Cod region. This nonprofit's planning put them well ahead of the 2100 other communities vying for a piece of the stimulus pie.
OpenCape not only won $40 million in Dept. Of Commerce BTOP and other funding, the organization is well on its way to deploying its network. Founder and CEO Dan Gallagher shares with our audience details on how to:
corral diverse stakeholders into a cohesive planning body; structure critical components of your plan to attract supporters and financing; move stakeholders forward from plan to actions that get results; and keep your plan on track as you overcome implementation challenges.