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Gladwin County Recognized as Certified Connected Community

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Gladwin County completes technology plan aimed at bridging technology gap, boosting economy, paving the way for improved quality of life

Gladwin County, MI – Today, the Gladwin County Technology Planning Team and Connect Michigan present Gladwin County as a certified Connected community and release its Technology Action Plan.

“Gladwin County has been bringing together leaders in government, the private sector, academia, and not-for-profit organizations, as well as healthcare providers to explore how best to expand our county’s broadband” shares Mark L. Berdan, Executive Director, Region 7B Consortium Michigan Works!. “Access to broadband has profound economic implications as it can increase opportunities for online education, telecommuting, telemedicine, and business expansions revolutionizing much of our lives.”

Gladwin County has been working since May 2014 with Connect Michigan on the Connected Community Engagement Program. This initiative assesses the local broadband landscape, identifies connectivity gaps, and establishes technology-driven goals and objectives to increase broadband access, adoption, and use for families, organizations, and businesses throughout the community. Gladwin County met the requirements necessary to achieve certified Connected community status.

“This is only the first step in what will be an ongoing effort of the EDC (Economic Development Corporation) to support and impact meaningful issues like broadband coverage in our community,” said Scott Govitz, Gladwin County Economic Development Corp. Chairman and Executive Director of Workforce Development-Mid Michigan Community College.

Bob Balzer, Director of Economic Development-Gladwin County and community champion adds, “We are not at all where we need to be…yet! But I am thankful that we are not where we used to be when it comes to broadband access. I am truly thankful for the many “pioneers” of broadband in Gladwin County.”

"Congratulations to Gladwin County on its Connected community certification," said Tom Ferree, Connected Nation president and COO. "The Gladwin County Technology Planning Team is providing leadership that will direct future technology success. Their studied and informed recommendations for relevant technology engagement will impact the cities of Gladwin County in economic growth and overall quality of life."

The Technology Action Plan sets general community-wide broadband connectivity goals that will support economic development and residential quality of life. Gladwin County’s top goals from the new plan include: developing a technology mentorship program in Gladwin County; performing an analysis of local policies and ordinances; identifying, mapping, and validating broadband demand in order to develop a business case for further expansion of broadband in Gladwin County; pursuing Next Generation 911 upgrades; completing a vertical assets inventory; facilitating Internet Safety classes; and developing or identifying a broadband training and awareness program for the small and medium businesses of Gladwin County. The new plan gives the community step-by-step action items to following in order to meet the goals. The plan will also support future broadband expansion and programs that will ensure the community maintains widespread Internet access, adoption, and use.