Our Vision and History
The Connected Nation Timeline
2001 – The Center for Information Technology Enterprise (CITE) was founded at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky. to promote technology expansion in Kentucky.
2004 – CITE evolved into the ConnectKentucky program, a public-private initiative to conduct mapping and planning to spur broadband expansion in the Commonwealth.
2005 – No Child Left Offline (now known as Computers 4 Kids or Every Citizen Online (ECO)) was established to provide computer and technology access to disadvantaged families, libraries, schools, and community centers.
2005 – The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) granted $900,000 to ConnectKentucky in support of the statewide broadband initiative, Prescription for Innovation. The funds were used to support ConnectKentucky’s efforts toward the expansion of broadband infrastructure and technology adoption throughout the Appalachian region.
2007 – ConnectKentucky completed the grassroots community level project of preparing a Strategic Technology Plan blueprint for all 120 of Kentucky’s counties. Broadband availability increased from 60 percent to 95 percent of households in the state.
2007 – Based on the successes of ConnectKentucky, neighboring state officials requested the formation of the Connected Tennessee and Connect Ohio programs under the umbrella of the newly formed Connected Nation parent organization.
2007 – ConnectKentucky’s efforts were featured in an article, Wiring Rural America, in The Economist. The article highlighted ConnectKentucky’s public-private partnership model in expanding broadband availability in the state of Kentucky.
2007 – 2008 – The ConnectKentucky model was the basis for national legislation passed by Congress as the “Broadband Data Improvement Act.”
2008 – ConnectKentucky was honored with the 2008 Susan G. Hadden Pioneer Award presented by the Alliance for Public Technology (APT), which honors individuals and organizations that advocate for widespread public access to advanced telecommunications.
2008 – In a Wall Street Journal article recognizing Kentucky as one of the world’s seven outstanding economic development leaders, ConnectKentucky’s efforts to bring high speed internet (broadband) benefits to every Kentuckian were featured.
2009 – Connected Nation was chosen as the designated broadband mapping entity for 12 states and one territory under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded Broadband Data Improvement Act: Alaska, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
2009 – 2010 – Connected Nation partnered with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to work with public libraries in 20 states in a project called Opportunity Online, which brought together local libraries and community stakeholders to discuss and plan broadband sustainability efforts.
2009 – Connected Nation CEO Brian Mefford was appointed to a two-year term on the MSC Malaysia International Advisory Panel (IAP). Chaired by the Malaysian Prime Minister, the IAP provides advice and counsel to the Malaysian Government to set and prepare the agenda for the way forward in the development and growth of the MSC Malaysia and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in Malaysia.
2010 – Connect Ohio launched Every Citizen Online, which provides free computer training sessions at public libraries, community colleges, community organizations, and educational centers throughout Ohio.
2010 – Connected Tennessee launched the Computers 4 Kids BTOP grant, which is an effort to increase sustainable broadband adoption and provide computers and training to more than 60,000 disadvantaged youth across Tennessee.
2011 – Connected Nation state initiatives contributed to the National Broadband Map data that covered approximately 42% of the nation’s landmass; reached 39.5 million households; and included more than 1,200 broadband service providers.
2011 – In the fall, Connected Nation began piloting the Connected Community Engagement Program to provide a scalable and measurable framework for assessing and planning the expansion of broadband access, adoption, and use at the community level. Learn more about the process here.
2011 – Connected Nation was named a key strategic advisor and partner in a major national public-private broadband adoption initiative called “Connect to Compete” aimed at boosting digital literacy and skills training and job creation.
2012 – Connected Nation marked 10 years of connecting the nation.
2012 – In April 2012, Connected Nation unveiled its new and improved broadband mapping and analytics tool called My ConnectView. Learn More
2012 – In July 2012, Connected Nation launched an independent broadband consulting firm, 10/20 Digital. 10/20 Digital provides broadband assessment, planning, and action strategies for companies, communities, and institutions seeking a more competitive approach to broadband-based growth.
2012 – With dozens of communities involved in the Connected Community Engagement Program, Connected Nation recognized Charlevoix County, Michigan as the first certified Connected community in the nation.
2013 – June 2013 – Connected Nation launched into the educational technology space with Edified to form programs and partnerships that increase the deployment of the latest mobile technology, robust wireless connectivity, education apps, and twenty-first century teaching practices in America’s K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.
2013 – June 2013 – Connected Nation, through its Connect Ohio subsidiary, launched an innovative telework training and placement program called Digital Works: Connecting People & Jobs, to support community revitalization and job growth. LEARN MORE
2016 – Connected Nation set a new standard in community technology planning and development with the release of the Spartanburg, South Carolina, Connected Community Engagement assessment and action plan. Enhanced methodology and innovative data collection provide comprehensive research and plans that are unmatched in the industry. More than 300 communities across 7 states have participated in the Connected Community Engagement Program.