Ward County, TX (February 1, 2018) – Children, veterans and active military, ranchers, and farmers living and working in Ward County are on the wrong side of the Digital Divide. That’s the finding following an eight-month assessment of broadband (high-speed internet) access in Monahans and the surrounding area.
“We had heard from residents and businesses that there was a need to connect more people, but before we could take any action it was important to know what exactly the internet landscape for Monahans and Ward County looked like,” said Teresa Burnett, the Executive Director of the Monahans Chamber of Commerce. “That’s why we partnered with Connected Nation and formed a broadband committee to research our area’s access to broadband and identify the opportunities and challenges for expanding that access to more families.”
Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program (ConnectedSM) has assisted more than 300 communities across the country in assessing their broadband landscape and identifying ways to expand it. The Ward County Broadband Committee leveraged the program to reach out to residents, businesses, farmers, ranchers, librarians, schools, and other stakeholders to respond to a survey regarding their access, adoption, and use of broadband.
Among the findings revealed in the Final Technology Action Plan, nearly one-third (29.6%) of residents regularly telework, 35% of adults do not have home internet access, and public safety agencies say their mobile networks are only “fair to poor.”
“We also found a big gap in digital equity for families with school-aged children, for farmers and agriculture producers, and for Ward County’s veterans and active military,” said Tom Stephenson, a Community Technology Advisor for Connected Nation who worked directly with the local broadband team. “We used the data collected—both good and bad—to conduct a comprehensive and structured analysis of the broadband landscape. From there, we’ve developed an action plan that’s appropriate for Ward County and will help connect more families, businesses, and farmers.”
A series of recommendations were made based on the research and can be found on pages 77–89 of the Technology Action Plan. From those recommendations, the local broadband team identified four that they see as a priority for Ward County:
- Perform a broadband build-out analysis and validate demand for broadband service in underserved areas;
- Develop public-private partnerships to deploy broadband service;
- Complete a vertical assets inventory, and;
- Develop a community-based technology awareness group.
To read the Technology Action Plan in its entirety, head to:
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Connected Nation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization that develops and implements strategies to close digital equity gaps and improve digital skills in communities across the United States. Our Connected Community Engagement Program is a locally driven effort to live out Connected Nation’s mission to bring access to all families so no one is left on the wrong side of the Digital Divide.
Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand the access, adoption, and use of broadband (high-speed internet) to all people. We believe that everyone belongs in a Connected Nation. For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.org or follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.
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