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The making of a better broadband map

Bowling Green, Kentucky (October 13, 2023) - Donovan and Chip Spann, a father and son duo who work for Connected Nation (CN), have a combined mission to bring better internet access to communities across the country.

The Spanns seek to find gaps in the Digital Divide in order to identify areas where connectivity is lacking, and ultimately create a more accurate broadband map .

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an increased need for broadband technology was quickly brought to light. Whether it was at work, school or at home, citizens across the country demanded access to high-speed internet. In response, organizations like CN quickly mobilized to meet the need.

In 2021, $373 billion in federal funding was made available to improve broadband infrastructure. States, and the communities within them, are in the process of applying to receive some of this funding. Alcona County in Harrisville, Michigan, is one of those communities.

In Alcona County, the Spanns cover their designated perimeter, taking photos and cross-referencing coordinates. They approach the city water tower to determine broadband frequencies. They also analyze fiber-optic capabilities by looking for underground fiber markers. To determine whether new or improved technology services can be implemented, they must ask themselves the question: “Is this channel wide enough to deliver 25x3 Mbps service?”

This process usually takes up to a month, and involves many hours in the car and on foot. Although it may be somewhat of a long and tedious process, both Donovan and Chip are reminded of their shared goal: “Every home that gets connected to broadband after we’ve done this job is a victory. It’s a great win.”

Watch the video below!