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Ottawa County, Mich., Seeks Partnerships to Tackle Broadband Expansion

(TNS) -- While broadband internet has been an issue for communities and townships in the area, Ottawa County, Mich., could roll full-speed ahead with a plan.

The Ottawa County Broadband Committee is partnering with Connected Nation's Connected Community Engagement Program.

"Our Board of Commissioners has actively supported enhanced broadband for our residents and businesses for the last 10 years," said Paul Sachs, Director of Planning and Performance Improvement for Ottawa County. "We've had successes with expanding broadband into previously underserved areas through collaborative public-private partnerships, but we know there are still areas of need in the county."

Connected Nation is a technology organization focused on bringing affordable high-speed internet and broadband-enabled resources to communities across the nation. The Connected Community Engagement Program is a locally-driven effort to bring all families to the right side of the "digital divide."

The initial step for the process of bringing high-speed internet to Ottawa County will consist of a short survey for residents, businesses, agricultural producers, health care facilities and schools. The survey can be found at

"We hope that participating in this targeted work with Connected Nation's local office, Connect Michigan, will provide us with a better understanding of where these remaining areas are situated so that we can continue developing creative partnerships to meet these broadband needs," Sachs said.

According to a release, participation in the online survey will help the committee better understand the status of high-speed internet in Ottawa County, reassessing it after a decade of work. After an evaluation of the survey results, the broadband committee and staff at Connected will develop a Technology Action Plan focused on effectively and efficiently improving Ottawa County's broadband environment.

"Getting everyone's input — from parents to educators to businesses to the agricultural community — is key in helping us develop a Technology Action Plan that meets the unique needs of Ottawa County," said Dan Manning, Community Technology Advisor for Connected Nation. "The more input we get, the better we can identify ways to create access, adoption and use of broadband for everyone in Ottawa County."