Des Moines, IA (Vocus) August 13, 2009
The Iowa Utilities Board recently named Connected Nation, a national nonprofit, as the designated entity to create a statewide broadband inventory map. The map is expected to serve as a key asset for the state as it seeks to maximize Iowa’s share of the federal broadband stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
“We are excited to work with the State of Iowa on this important project to improve broadband availability for all Iowans,” said Brian R. Mefford, Connected Nation’s CEO. “Together with the state, consumers, technology companies, and broadband providers of all types and sizes, we will work to ensure that all Iowans are able to realize the economic and social advantages related to broadband access.”
Under the leadership of the Iowa Utilities Board, the Iowa broadband map will be developed by Connected Nation and in partnership with ESRI, the world’s market leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) solutions. Through a rigorous system of data collection, GIS analysis, and data verification, the map will illustrate broadband service availability at the street level, based on information from providers across Iowa who offer broadband services including cable and telephone companies, wireless Internet service providers, rural cooperatives, and municipalities. Most importantly, the broadband map will pinpoint the service gaps that remain in rural and remote locations. A web-based, interactive map will combine the broadband information with detailed demographic and consumer data to create a clear understanding of Iowa’s remaining broadband challenges and opportunities.
Currently, more than $4 billion is available through the ARRA for broadband projects nationwide, including $440 million for projects that include mapping, local broadband planning, computer distributions and other programs to expand broadband and computer use, particularly among previously disconnected Americans.
In 2008, Connected Nation conducted a study that measures the impact of public-private broadband expansion programs similar to those in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. The impact of increased broadband adoption was then applied to Iowa’s population and determined a potential economic impact of $1.2 billion including more than 26,000 jobs being saved or created, in addition to the millions of dollars saved annually in reduced healthcare costs, reduced driving costs, environmental savings, and the many hours saved by conducting business online.
About Connected Nation: Connected Nation is a national nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that expands access to and use of broadband Internet and the related technologies that are enabled when individuals and communities have the opportunity and desire to connect. Connected Nation effectively raises the awareness of the value of broadband and related technologies by developing coalitions of influencers and enablers for improving technology availability and use. Connected Nation works with consumers, community leaders, states, technology providers and foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered around a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked.
Connected Nation is currently implementing or has completed a wide range of initiatives in the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. For more information about Connected Nation, visit http://www.connectednation.org.
kmccrary (at) connectednation (dot) org