The Connected Nation Blog: October 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Video and Research Shows that Libraries Play a Key Role in Connecting the Disconnected

Connected Nation launches New Video and Policy Brief, “Connecting America Through Broadband at the Library”

In recent research and activities, Connected Nation has found that libraries, across the country, are playing a critical role in connecting America’s disconnected. And, Americans are already speaking out about how libraries are transforming their families’ lives through broadband.

Connected Nation has captured some of these stories in a video called “Connecting America Through Broadband at the Library.” In addition, Connected Nation’s survey research--which was recently filed in a policy brief with the Federal Communications Commission—further validates the important role libraries play as a community technology hub.

Below are some of these testimonies.

Along with this anecdotal evidence, Connected Nation conducted surveys across the states of Tennessee and Ohio to better understand the role of libraries in the broadband age. The report has been filed with the FCC, encouraging the commission to consider the important role community anchor institutions—specifically libraries—play in the national broadband plan.

Key findings of this survey research include:

• Significant percentages of those who normally don't subscribe to broadband – specifically single parents, minorities and low-income residents – are relying on the local library as their sole or primary Internet resource: 25 percent of single parents, 25 percent of minorities, 18 percent of low income residents, and 11 percent of people with disabilities depend on libraries for Internet connections.

• More than one-half of library Internet users (51 percent) have children at home, suggesting that a significant portion of library Internet users are children. Of this group, 42 percent do not have a broadband connected computer at home.

• Library Internet users are significantly more likely than other Internet users (those who connect at home or elsewhere) to use a number of online applications related to workforce development and education, civic engagement and healthcare.

• Nearly half of library Internet users (46 percent) search for jobs online, compared to 29 percent of other Internet users.

• Library Internet users are significantly more likely than other Internet users to communicate online with local government officials (25 percent compared to 14 percent.)

• 28 percent of library Internet users communicate online with healthcare professionals, compared to 16 percent of other Internet users.

To view the filing, click
here. To view more data from this survey, click here to view graphs.

These voices and research are already helping Connected Nation work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in a pilot program called
Opportunity Online.

This initiative partners the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Connected Nation and the American Library Association to host broadband summits for librarians, public and private leaders and other influencers in six different states.

These summits help communities across each state devise a plan for greater library connectivity, especially for libraries that cannot offer broadband connected computers. Following the summits, the libraries are offered the opportunity to apply for grants to help fund their connectivity plans.

To learn more about the Opportunity Online summits, click

For more information, contact Jessica Ditto at or (202) 251-4749.

Related Links:

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Connected Nation Welcomes New Co-Chairman to IIA

Connected Nation would like to welcome David Sutphen as the new co-chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance. Sutphen replaces Larry Irving, who has led the IIA since its inception in 2004 and will now serve as vice president of Global Governmental Affairs at Hewlett Packard.

“We are pleased that David Sutphen has decided to help lead the Internet Innovation Alliance’s coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand broadband use and adoption,” said Brian R. Mefford, Connected Nation’s chief executive officer. “As a member of the Alliance, Connected Nation is proud of the work of Larry Irving and is confident David Sutphen will continue to work to meet the Alliance’s mission of promoting expanded broadband availability and adoption, particularly in underserved and unserved communities.”

Connected Nation is one of 53 members of the Internet Innovation Alliance, which includes businesses, non-profits and advocacy groups.

“Broadband Internet is the great enabler and the great equalizer,” Sutphen said in an IIA press release. “Today, it delivers critical health care, education and employment opportunities as well as the compelling news and entertainment content we all demand. Our challenge is to ensure that all people, regardless of race, income or geography, are benefiting from this revolution. I’m excited to join the IIA during this important time in history when broadband is finally getting its due as a truly transformative and empowering technology.”

Related links:

Press Release: Internet Innovation Alliance Names David Sutphen New Co-Chair (IIA)
Bio and Blog: David Sutphen
Internet Innovation Alliance gets new co-chair (The Hill’s Technology blog, Hillicon Valley)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Connected Nation’s sustainable broadband adoption programs highlighted in Intel whitepaper

Recently, Intel published a whitepaper, “Investing in Sustainable Broadband Adoption,” highlighting Connected Nation’s partnership with Intel and other technology stalwarts in an innovative program called Every Citizen Online (SM).

Every Citizen Online (SM) is a public-private initiative intended to help low-income individuals purchase a new broadband-enabled computer using an instant rebate, bundled with a year of discounted broadband service. On Aug. 13, Connected Nation announced its plans to seek federal broadband stimulus dollars to help fund the program.

The whitepaper also notes Connected Nation’s success in using a public-private partnership model to help close the vast broadband adoption gaps that exist in the United States.

From Intel’s
“The paper explores a proposed public-private solution to close this vast adoption gap by utilizing stimulus funds for a PC-broadband bundle program targeted to low-income and other unconnected households.

The proposed program focuses on first-time residential broadband users by reducing the cost of both elements of a connected PC: the upfront equipment cost (of a full featured notebook or desktop) and the initial subscription cost for broadband service -- supported by community-based digital literacy training.

Intel believes that this type of strategic public-private partnership, supported by local community involvement, will help bridge the digital divide in the U.S. and, consequently, help boost our nation's economy and competitiveness over the long-term.”

To read Intel’s entire blog post, click

Related information:

In the News:
Intel, Dell Join Nonprofit To Bring Cheap Internet Service to Poor (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 12, 2009)
About: Every Citizen Online (SM)
Whitepaper: Investing in Sustainable Broadband Adoption (PDF)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Connected Nation’s Computers 4 Kids Program Wins 2009 TechStar Award in Tennessee

Recently, Connected Nation’s Computers 4 Kids (C4K) program in Tennessee was given a community service award at the 7th annual TechStar Awards luncheon in Kingsport, Tenn. The award was given for C4K’s commitment of time and resource to help improve the community through technology.

The Computers 4 Kids program is designed to positively impact the future of disadvantaged children in Tennessee by distributing computers to children and families facing economic challenges, in the foster care system or that struggle with behavioral disorders and other issues.

C4K is also enriching the educational landscape of Tennessee’s communities by placing computer labs in non-profit organizations that work to enhance the lives of children and families in their area.

In order to bridge the digital divide between those who have access to computer technology and those who do not, Connected Tennessee has placed more than 2,000 computers over the past 18 months into the hands of disadvantaged populations. The computers allow underserved populations of Tennessee to perform basic computing functions and have access to the abundant educational, informational and governmental resources that are available on the Internet.

“We are starting to see the work of the past two years really come to fruition,” noted Connected Tennessee’s Executive Director, Michael Ramage. “It is rewarding to know that the Computers 4 Kids program is changing lives across Northeast Tennessee and the entire state. We are honored to receive this award and look forward to continuing our efforts to place technology into the hands of the citizens of our state that need it the most.”

Also, the C4K program in Tennessee, received accolades earlier this month at the Congressional Black Caucus’s Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. for its work to connect the underserved west Tennessee community of Stanton with the rest of the world.

C4K recently donated 20 computers to the Saint John After-School Program in Stanton, transforming the program into a hub of connectivity for the entire community.
Watch a video about the community of Stanton and the Computers 4 Kids program by clicking

To download the press release, click

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Connected Nation Applauds Diligence of NTIA's Broadband Stimulus Review Process

Washington, DC – Today, Connected Nation participated in a call with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to discuss Connected Nation’s broadband mapping applications for the State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) Grant Program. Connected Nation is proud to be working with 13 states and territories in the national broadband mapping effort, which represents approximately 40 percent of the country’s landmass and encompasses approximately 39.5 million total households.

As the organization that produced the nation’s first accurate statewide broadband availability map in 2005, Connected Nation is a prominent voice for the nation’s need for better broadband data. Connected Nation has worked closely with national leaders and provided numerous
filings in support of a process for broadband data collection at the national level.

“We applaud the NTIA for working diligently and deliberately to ensure the nation’s broadband mapping program is held to the highest standard. We have taken this approach in our previous state projects and we intend to continue in our new programs,” said Brian R. Mefford, Connected Nation’s chief executive officer. “In the spirit of openness and collaboration, we welcome any opportunity to share the lessons we have learned and the improvements we have made.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has also weighed in on the need for improved broadband mapping measures. On October 9, 2009, GAO issued a
report, “Telecommunications: Current Broadband Measures Have Limitations and New Measures Are Promising but Need Improvement.” Connected Nation was one of the stakeholders invited to contribute to the report.

Currently, more than $4 billion is available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 for broadband projects nationwide. This includes $440 million for projects encompassing mapping, local planning, computer distributions and programs that expand broadband and computer use, particularly in communities where broadband is unavailable or underutilized. So far, the NTIA has announced four awards for the SBDD program. The remaining 52 awards are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

Download the full press release

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Texas State Library and Archives Commission Launches Statewide Effort to Improve Internet Access in Texas Public Libraries

SAN ANTONIO - The Texas State Library and Archives Commission assembled nearly 200 public library leaders, community supporters, broadband providers, and local and state leaders for the Texas Opportunity Online Broadband Summit, on Thursday, October 8, 2009, in San Antonio, to discuss how to improve and sustain high quality Internet access in the Texas public libraries. The Texas Opportunity Online Broadband Summit provides an opportunity to understand the value of community partnerships and the possibilities of technology as well as in-depth discussion about possible connectivity solutions and next steps necessary to reach improved connectivity speed.

Currently, more than 200 Texas public library systems lack Internet connections fast enough to meet the most basic needs of patrons, and many more report speeds that are inadequate to meet the true demand of their community. Ironically, some of these public libraries offer the only technology lifeline to their communities.

This is the first of two Texas summits that is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of its pilot Opportunity Online broadband grant program. Texas, along with six other states, has been invited to participate. The grant program supports public libraries as they seek to improve their broadband connectivity and calls for a broadband sustainability strategy, to be developed by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, to ensure that public libraries continue to improve and maintain adequate connectivity for patrons.

The summit included a comprehensive analysis of Texas’ current broadband climate and the future of technology access in Texas public libraries. Stephen Abram, a library futurist, spoke about future library services and applications driven by technology that will influence how Americans use computers and the Internet, and why reliable, sustainable broadband connections in libraries will be essential to ensure library patrons can use these programs to improve their lives.

Keynote speaker Graham Richard, former mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana and partner of public libraries, highlighted the importance of public and private partnerships on the local and state level to prioritize funding for improved connectivity in public libraries.

Peggy Rudd, Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s director and librarian, led the summit and represented the agency.

“Every day we are reminded of the value of Texas’ public libraries,” Rudd said. “Today’s public libraries provide traditional services, but a growing number of patrons depend on library Internet access to apply for jobs, further their education, run businesses or stay connected with families and friends. This summit and grant program will help better meet these increasing personal and community needs by improving library connection speeds.”

Building on dialogue and ideas generated at the summit, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is currently working with an advisory group—including Commissioner Todd Staples of the Texas Department of Agriculture, former Governor Mark White, Texas State Library and Archives Commission Chairman Sandra J. Pickett - to develop a strategy to increase and sustain broadband connections in all Texas public libraries. Texas State Library and Archives Commission will now work with libraries across the state to support their Internet connectivity upgrade and create a long-term state sustainability strategy.

“The summit highlights the vital role libraries play in connecting communities to information and knowledge through technology,” said Jill Nishi, deputy director of U.S. Libraries at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “What is needed now is long-term collaboration among government, business, communities, and library leaders to ensure that public libraries can continue to provide the high-speed Internet access their patrons need to improve their lives and thrive.”

Connected Nation worked closely with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to support the event development and execution. For more information about the Texas Opportunity Online Summit, please visit or contact us at 1-866-882-3081 or

Download the press release

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