Carson City, NV – The effort to spread high-speed Internet across Nevada got a major boost today with approximately $2.5 million in federal funding. Connect Nevada received the funding as part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) grant program.
Connect Nevada was formed in 2009 with approximately $1.4 million in funding from the SBDD to promote broadband expansion and adoption that is vital for economic growth and greater quality of life.
“Equitable access to high-speed Internet for all Nevadans is the cornerstone of vibrant twenty-first century communities and individuals,” says Daphne DeLeon, chairperson of the Governor’s Nevada Broadband Task Force and State Librarian.
Connect Nevada, a nonprofit organization, works in collaboration with the Nevada Broadband Task Force to gather data and promote the spread of affordable broadband service across the state. Its efforts in that regard have focused on producing the first comprehensive maps of broadband service across Nevada, (see www.connectnv.org), as well as ongoing planning activities over a five-year period.
“The new federal grant money will allow Connect Nevada to partner with the Governor’s Broadband Task Force and the State Librarian in order to ensure that all residents have access to the life-altering services that high-speed Internet provides,” explains Brian Mefford, CEO of Connect Nevada’s parent company, Connected Nation. “Telemedicine, higher education opportunities, and improved government services are just some of the benefits that broadband provides. Our regional planning teams will work to make sure these vital services are available to all Nevadans by focusing on the areas of the state that currently have the lowest rates of broadband availability and adoption.”
The new funds will be used on four priorities:
- Continuation of the current broadband data collection and producing updated broadband maps during the remainder of the five-year program period.
- To establish a central, state level program office to work in coordination with and in support of the Nevada Broadband Task Force to ensure broadband related strategies and activities are developed as part of a cohesive and comprehensive statewide effort.
- To offer technical assistance tools and resources for broadband expansion to communities across the state through a combination of county and state-level research on technology usage, needs, and barriers to adoption.
- To support regional planning teams in the 14 counties with the lowest rates of broadband availability and adoption. Planning Teams will meet at local libraries and will be composed of volunteers representing a cross-section of the community.
In June, Connect Nevada unveiled its broadband map through BroadbandStat, an interactive Web application that allows policy makers and consumers to search and view broadband coverage across the state. Connect Nevada, in collaboration with the state’s broadband providers, is updating the map on a routine basis to reflect “real-time” broadband availability.
The SBDD program is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provided $7.2 billion to expand access to broadband services in the United States.
All Nevada residents are encouraged to visit the Connect Nevada website, www.connectnv.org, to join in this important initiative and offer feedback. The website gives residents a place to provide feedback on the initiative as well as several useful interactive tools. Users can use the website to find providers at their address, check their current Internet speeds, request broadband service in their area, and share stories of how high-speed Internet has impacted their lives.
To access a summary of the grant project please visit http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/grantee/connected-nation-nevada.
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