Monday, March 17, 2008

Successful at home, ConnectKentucky goes national to expand rural broadband access

ConnectKentucky began four years ago in Bowling Green with five employee and a mission was to expand broadband access across the state. The nonprofit has taken off since then, growing into a national organization called Connected Nation with an office in Washington, D.C. and similar projects in other states, reports Ameerah Cetawayo of The Daily News in Bowling Green.

"Connected Nation, which also provides consulting services to the state of California, has been contacted by at least 25 other states about adopting some or parts of the ConnectKentucky initiative that pushed the broadband availability in Kentucky’s mostly rural 120 counties from 60 percent to 95 percent of Kentucky households in three years - growth unmatched by any other state, according to the company," Cetawayo writes.

The organization's funding is an 80/20 split between public and private money, and its officials said the 2007 Connect the Nation Act — contained in the Farm Bill — brings even more potential for growth since the bill seeks to speed deployment of broadband in rural areas. Connected Nation currently is working to help create better measurements for broadband availability. Cetawayo explains the existing standard comes from the Federal Communications Commission's definition and says that as long as one business or resident has access in a ZIP code the whole ZIP code is deemed "connected." Connected Nation looks at download/upload speed and census data to find gaps in service. (Read more)

Connected Nation's report, "The Economic Impact of Stimulating Broadband Nationally," estimates that $134 billion could be gained by increasing broadband across the country. To read the report and see state-by-state estimates, go here.

2 comments: said...

Taking you at your stated purpose of providing information for rural journalists, they need to be aware of the full story of ConnectKentuky's apparent "success."

There are those of us who think the program is nothing more than a "feel good" approach.

Billy Ray said...

Instead of just accepting the CK drivel as fact, it would be great if you would look at facts. ConnectKentucky has been successful only at pulling the wool over the eyes of enough state legislatures to expand their riches and the comfort of their members. AT&T, Comcast, and many other telecommunications behemoths have benefited from Connect's "model," but no one else has.