Community Data Gathering Examples


Ottawa County, Michigan

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Ottawa County serves as a great example of organizing and delivering a very successful survey process as a participant in Connected Nation’s “Connected” program.  During the second half of 2017, the Ottawa County Broadband Committee administered a series of broadband surveys for local residents, sector-specific businesses and public sector organizations which resulted in over 2900 completed responses.  Using several communication tools from Connected Nation as a base, the Ottawa County team developed a “media kit” of customized tools to promote the use of the surveys.  With broadband representation on the Ottawa County Broadband Committee from each of the audiences to be survey, these tools were widely distributed across the county and used to drive enthusiasm and participation in the surveys.  With this valuable, detailed data obtained, Ottawa County is now taking action to address specific areas in the county that need improved broadband service and/or help with other broadband related concerns.

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Harbor Springs, Michigan

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The Harbor Springs community preformed a vertical asset inventory of the region partnering with the GIS team of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians. The team discovered that there were very few useful vertical assets in the region due to the strictness of the local zoning ordinances for communication equipment that prevented the construction of communication towers that went higher than the tree line. The team took two actions as a result of these findings; 1) the team worked with the Emmet County’s zoning and planning department to update and modify the zoning ordinances that allowed for the construction of higher and more useful towers; and 2) the local townships began the process of constructing communication towers on their own property. These towers are then made available to wireless ISPs to bring broadband service to areas where the cost to provide service was previously too high for deployment.

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Leelanau County, Michigan

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The community team performed a vertical asset inventory and also discovered that strict zoning prevented the construction of useful communication towers that were higher than the tree line. The team moved forward with two action items. First, the team began conversations with local zoning administrators and planning commissions to update their local ordinances to provide more flexibility for wireless tower construction. Secondly, the team worked with the county, which owned a number of communication towers for it 911 network. The county drafted lease agreements in order to attract ISPs to underserved areas of the county where these towers were located. These agreements allow ISPs to use the towers with little capital investment for the first year until they are able to establish subscribership rates high enough to sustain the presence of their equipment on the towers.


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