The Connected Nation Blog: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Connected Nation Receives Recovery Act Funding For Broadband Mapping and Planning Initiatives in Alaska and Kansas

NTIA Awards Lay the Groundwork For Launch of Connect Alaska and Connect Kansas Initiatives

Washington, DC – Today, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced approximately $4 million in grant awards for Alaska and Kansas, enabling Connected Nation to launch comprehensive broadband mapping initiatives in partnership with those states.

“Connected Nation’s mission is to see that every American, no matter where he or she lives, has access to high-speed Internet,” said Brian R. Mefford, Connected Nation’s chief executive officer. ”Whether it is making a purchase online or filling out a job application, broadband is key to accessing and sharing information in this technology-driven economy. By plotting broadband availability on a map, we can find the quickest path to closing the digital gaps that still exist for many Americans.

“We applaud NTIA for working diligently to create a national broadband map and are honored to have been selected to help Alaska and Kansas in their efforts to increase broadband in rural areas.”

Connected Nation will soon be working with 12 states and one U.S. territory on the national broadband mapping effort. These efforts comprise approximately 42 percent of the country’s landmass and encompass approximately 39.5 million households.

More than $7 billion in stimulus funds have been designated to help expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities across the United States. These funds are available through NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and the Rural Utilities Service’s Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP). NTIA has received applications for the grant program from all 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia and the agency is currently reviewing the remaining 35 applications. The remaining awards are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

As the organization that produced the nation’s first granular 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. To learn more about the programs that are helping more families and communities connect through broadband, visit

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kentucky Governor, Department for Local Government and ConnectKentucky Announce Grant to Provide Broadband Access to Eastern Kentucky Counties

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear presents a check to Chip Spann, René True and Mark Messer of ConnectKentucky during the “Coal to Broadband” launch on Tuesday.

Governor Steve Beshear joined with Department for Local Government Commissioner Tony Wilder and ConnectKentucky Executive Director René True today to announce the launch of the “Coal to Broadband: Making the Transition, Making the Connection,” program, which will help bring broadband service to Breathitt, Estill, Lee and Powell counties.

ConnectKentucky will serve as technical adviser on the project, working with the newly formed nonprofit, the Breathitt, Estill, Lee, Powell Regional Technology Authority (RTA).

All four of the grant’s impacted counties are in the bottom 25 counties in Kentucky for broadband availability. Breathitt and Lee counties are the two lowest served counties in the state, both with below 50 percent availability of broadband to the home. In addition, nearly 7,000 homes in Breathitt, Estill, Lee and Powell counties do not have high-speed Internet available at home.

“Coal to Broadband” will help ensure that these counties move toward more accessible and widespread broadband connections. The program will use multi-county coal severance dollars along with Appalachian Regional Commission funds for an economic development project to bring broadband access to the four county Eastern Kentucky region.

To learn more, download the program’s frequently asked questions here or view the program’s press release here.

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