Each week, new communities across the nation strive to reach Connected status and show they are embracing technology as a forward-thinking community. Though many cities and counties are able to organize, quantify, and then expand their broadband assets, not every contender garners the enthusiasm and solidarity they need throughout the area to execute a survey and action plan. Centerville, Iowa is new on Connect Iowa’s list of communities striving for Connected certification, and they are off to a quick start with positive, forward momentum. Spurred by important businesses in the area, Centerville is taking steps to make the community broadband-friendly and welcoming to new enterprises as well as supportive of capital institutions.
In the Connected Community Engagement Program, every community begins their broadband survey — taking an inventory of broadband access and use in the area —with different goals in mind for expanding infrastructure or adoption. Some areas focus on residential needs and keeping residents in the community, while others focus on business and making their hometowns an attractive place to work. An engineering and manufacturing firm central to employment in Centerville first brought the need for broadband to the community’s attention. When uploading or working on new designs in the plant, the operation often waited for hours on slow upload speeds, while competitors were accessing broadband to get the job done in seconds.
“It was really impacting the way they do business,” said Patrick Antonen, City Administrator for Centerville. “They were in dire need of high-speed Internet.” Community stakeholders are now meeting to organize groups that will execute a broadband survey and support the action plan to come, which addresses the community’s service and infrastructure needs.
“When you’re fighting to keep your industries, you want to do everything you can to help them. Those are our jobs,” said Antonen. Fiber cables that supply high-speed broadband are already available in Centerville’s manufacturing district; however, no provider has yet accessed the network. Accessing the fiber and providing the speeds necessary to conduct competitive business in the area is at the top of the action plan list.
Following the 24 other Iowa Connected communities, of which 18 are now Connected Certified, and organizing community leaders across government, education, business, healthcare, and other sectors, Centerville has already laid a sturdy foundation toward expanding broadband access, adoption, and use. Connect Iowa looks forward to welcoming Centerville as a Connected community very soon. To keep up with other Connected communities near you and learn about news in broadband, keep in touch with http://connectmycommunity.org/.
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