CIT Releases Virginia’s 2016 Libraries Broadband Assessment

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Report assesses broadband speeds, costs and uses across Virginia libraries

CIT Broadband

The Internet is one of the primary pillars upon which the growing Virginia economy stands. Making sure that adequate broadband is available to all Virginians is absolutely crucial

The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announced today the results of its 2016 Virginia Libraries Broadband Assessment, which assesses the Internet speeds, associated costs, and connection quality of broadband in libraries across the Commonwealth and ultimately provided recommendations on how to improve broadband access and utilization.

Starting in the fall of 2014, CIT has partnered with the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Tech Center for Geospatial Information Technology to conduct Internet speed test campaigns throughout the Commonwealth to track and analyze connectivity at Virginia’s libraries. For the 2016 assessment, data was leveraged from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and the 2015 Library of Virginia survey to provide a more comprehensive look at our libraries from a broadband perspective.

The assessment includes analyses and recommendations for the following areas:

1.    Cost of access: This year we looked at how much library systems are paying per megabit of purchased service. The median cost per megabit for all libraries was $22.26. Annually, Virginia libraries spend over two million dollars on Internet related services.

2.    Internet download speeds: 62% of libraries purchased download connections that meet the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated broadband definition (25Mbps/3Mbps). However, only 30% of the branch libraries that conducted speed tests met the current FCC broadband definition.

3.    Latency: A measure of throughput, latency impacts how fast or slow your Internet connection seems. All online activities suffer when high latency measures are experienced. 13 libraries recorded very high median latency measures. Because many factors can contribute to latency, the report recommends these libraries work with their system to identify root causes.

4.    Technology: 51% of libraries purchase fiber services, 33% cable, 9% DSL and 1% T-3. 4% of library systems purchase very old and expensive T-1 services. 2% of libraries purchase broadband over power line connections, a controversial service.

5.    Digital literacy training: About 50% of libraries offer training. The lack of digital literacy is known to be a primary barrier to broadband adoption. The report recommends more free training opportunities.

6.    Workforce training: About 74% of libraries offer workforce training. More rural libraries than urban provide workforce training.

The full report can be viewed online at http://www.wired.virginia.gov.

Carol Adams, Assistant Director at the Library of Virginia, said, “The Library of Virginia appreciates the ongoing support of Center for Innovative Technology in not only understanding the current status of broadband in public libraries but also in exploring ways to improve connectivity to help better serve the residents of Virginia.”

Sandie Terry, CIT Broadband Vice President, said, “The Internet is one of the primary pillars upon which the growing Virginia economy stands. Making sure that adequate broadband is available to all Virginians is absolutely crucial; broadband availability at our libraries is essential to making sure that citizens have the access and knowledge to leverage broadband to improve their lives. We hope this report will be able to provide information that can be leveraged to ensure the benefits of broadband will be realized by every community.”

About the Center for Innovative Technology, http://www.cit.org
Since 1985, CIT, a nonprofit corporation, has been Virginia’s primary driver of innovation and entrepreneurship. CIT accelerates the next generation of technology and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, market development and revenue generation services. To facilitate national innovation leadership and accelerate the rate of technology adoption, CIT creates partnerships between innovative technology start-up companies and advanced technology consumers. CIT’s CAGE Code is 1UP71. To learn more, please visit http://www.cit.org. Follow CIT on Twitter @CITorg and add the Center for Innovative Technology on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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Kevin May
Center for Innovative Technology
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