Who Should Participate?
Now that you’ve identified your community, it’s time to take stock on the most important resource your community has: the leaders, stakeholders, and people that live and work in your community. These individuals are going to be the most important asset for achieving broadband and technology advancement. These are the people that will make up your leadership team, the ones that are already using technology in ways in which you may not be aware, and will be the ones that will benefit from new opportunities and strengthened quality of life that can be had through broadband and technology growth.
The first step is to identify the individuals, organizations, and companies that you believe have a vested interest in broadband and technology in the community and can constructively participate in the process of its expansion. The following provides a list of community organizations and entities that would likely have a stake in broadband and technology and could be broadband team members and advisors:
Local government officials
Chamber of commerce
Local economic development
Emergency management officials
University extension staff
Local tourism organization
Local hospital or other healthcare facilities
Colleges, universities, and/or trade schools
Internet service providers
Primary employers or business leaders
Senior citizen-focused organizations or facilities
Local farm bureau leadership
Public health department
Regional planning groups
The following points provide additional thoughts and best practices for identifying key stakeholders in your community:
You may choose to include some community members on your team that will not participate, but would be good to keep informed of the project. Examples include the community mayor or community’s state legislator.
Make sure to include stakeholders that are within the key spheres of influence in the community. Community broadband teams often consist of members that are rarely In the room together, which can be beneficial to the success of the project.
It will speed the process along if you are able to identify a “usual suspects” list of those individuals who should be included in each community. Examples would include the chamber representative, tourism representative, district technology coordinator, library director, etc.
You should consider time constraints already being pushed upon these individuals before inviting a particular type of person above. For example, if a police chief is invited to a meeting, you should make sure the chief clearly understands the value and that it is worth his or her time. Otherwise, you may not want to include that person, or may want to invite someone from the same subject area that may be able to more fully participate.
Though a statewide broadband provider may not participate in each community, they may want to stay informed and be included on the community team.
Before including media on the team, consider whether they will be helpful or harmful to the community team and its planning process.