Today, Connected Tennessee, a Connected Nation state-based initiative, demonstrated a new interactive mapping tool for viewing, analyzing and validating broadband data.
Called BroadbandStat, the new interactive mapping platform is a multi-functional, user-friendly way for local leaders, policymakers, consumers and technology providers to devise a plan for the expansion and adoption of broadband.
BroadbandStat was developed by Connected Nation in conjunction with ESRI, a market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software.
For Bob Mayfield, managing partner of Electronic Communications Systems, a small broadband provider in west Tennessee, the new tool will be extremely helpful as his company plans further coverage.
“BroadbandStat is a very important tool,” Mayfield said. “For providers to be able to look at the market as we are developing our business plans–to see where broadband exists and where the demand is—this is the best thing that’s come out in a while.”
Daryl Phillips, executive director of the Hickman County Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD), agreed.
“Five years ago, we had local business owners that couldn’t decide where to locate within the county because they didn’t have access to this kind of detailed information,” Phillips said. “Now, business and industry can use this tool for relocation decisions, home buyers can use this while shopping for a home and government and ECD can use it for planning purposes. BroadbandStat gives Tennessee an advantage over other states.”
During Wednesday’s presentation, Michael Ramage, executive director of Connected Tennessee, showcased the online tool, giving a basic overview of the system, along with highlighting advanced ways to view the data. BroadbandStat is scheduled to launch by late 2009 to early 2010 in Tennessee.
BroadbandStat is unique because it allows a user to build and evaluate broadband expansion scenarios using a wealth of data, including education and population demographics, current broadband speeds and availability and research about the barriers to adoption. The tool also provides an instant feedback mechanism for consumers to validate broadband data electronically or via phone.
The tool will be useful for government agencies, consumers, community leaders, broadband providers and the media. The broadband-related data can be used for grant writing, broadband investment and economic development, and it gives the public the ability to find information about broadband providers, down to the street-level.
Since its inception in 2007, Connected Tennessee has distributed more than 2,100 computers to children, families and community-based organizations through its Computers 4 Kids program.
On Monday, Connected Tennessee highlighted its digital inclusion work at a Federal Communications Commission’s field hearing in Memphis. The field hearing was one of a series of FCC’s public hearings promoting an open discussion between the commission and the public on the development of a national broadband plan.
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