The Connected Nation Blog: June 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Media Advisory: Connect Michigan, Michigan Public Service Commission to Release Broadband Development and Adoption Report

Lansing, MI – On Thursday, June 30, 2011, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and its partner, Connect Michigan, will release a new and in-depth report on Michigan’s broadband development and rate of adoption. This report will serve as a planning tool for future broadband expansion activities.

Connect Michigan and the MPSC will host a webinar to present the report findings and the media will be able to ask questions. MPSC Chairman Orjiakor Isiogu along with Brian Mefford, CEO of Connected Nation, Connect Michigan’s parent organization, will unveil the report, discuss the findings, and answer questions.

Who: Connect Michigan and the Michigan Public Service Commission

What: The release of the Broadband Development and Adoption Report

When/Where: Thursday, June 30, 2011, 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM EDT. Media are invited to attend in person or via the webinar

Attendance Options:

In-Person: The Michigan Public Service Commission, 6545 Mercantile Way, Lansing, MI

Enter at the door labeled Suite 7 and check in with the receptionist.


Reserve your webinar seat now: After registering, attendees will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.

Contact: Jessica Ditto at 202.251.4749 or

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Connect Alaska Releases New Broadband and Business Report

Access the Findings

Statewide survey estimates nearly 6,000 Alaska businesses remain unconnected

Anchorage, Alaska — A new report by Connect Alaska reveals that even in today’s wired world, there is still much work to be done to connect Alaska businesses to the global economy. The newly released
Business Technology Assessment study took an in-depth look at broadband use across all sectors of the state’s economy and found that an estimated 5,562 Alaska businesses remain unconnected to broadband technology.

The survey found that:

•Alaska businesses with high-speed Internet connections report having median annual revenues that are $100,000 greater than businesses without broadband;

•28 percent of all businesses – and 31 percent of small businesses with fewer than five employees – do not use broadband for their daily business needs;

•Alaska businesses pay a median monthly price of $74.62 for broadband service; and,

•Approximately 5,000 Alaska businesses allow their employees to telework, reducing the number of miles that employees are forced to commute and allowing businesses to remain operational in the event of inclement weather.

Connect Alaska is a statewide public-private partnership working on broadband expansion under a federal grant administered by the state Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED). The department recently established a statewide broadband task force to create a plan for Alaska’s future broadband deployment, as well as to accelerate the availability of affordable broadband technology throughout the state.

“Findings from this survey help to illustrate the correlation between high-speed Internet adoption and a business’s bottom line,” said DCCED Commissioner Susan Bell. “This will help the task force in its efforts to create a statewide plan for the future and more economic opportunity for Alaska businesses and families.”

Business Technology Assessment, and its interactive application on the Connect Alaska website (, reveals how technology is being used by Alaska businesses and where gaps remain. The assessment is designed to measure business technology adoption and the awareness of available broadband service and establish benchmarks for these metrics.

“In the digital economy, businesses must embrace broadband and other transformative technologies like it in order to survive,” said Brian Mefford, CEO of Connected Nation, Connect Alaska’s parent organization. “The Internet is driving products and services to the marketplace in an environment where creativity and innovation are both reinforced and rewarded.”

The Connect Alaska program has developed a statewide broadband inventory map, which was incorporated into the National Broadband Map unveiled in February. Funding for Connect Alaska and the broadband initiative are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and is administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) under the State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) grant program. For more information about what DCCED and Connect Alaska are doing to accelerate technology in Alaska’s communities, please visit:

The Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development works to create economic opportunity to promote a healthy economy and strong communities in Alaska. This is accomplished through six divisions and six corporate agencies and a staff of more than 500 people in seven statewide offices with a focus on: economic development, sustainable energy, strong communities, and consumer protection.

Download Press Release

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Related Links:

Press Release:
Statewide broadband task force named

Press Release:
Connect Alaska Receives ARRA Grant for Broadband Expansion Efforts

Press Release:
Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development & Connect Alaska Unveil Interactive Map to Increase High-Speed Internet Access

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Mobile Shopping: Changing How We Shop?

By Dev Joshi and John Walker, Research Analysts for Connected Nation

In 2010, online shopping through a mobile device generated $3 billion, according to a
NY Times blog about Forester Research’s new report. That report also projects the revenue generated by mobile shoppers to grow substantially over the next few years. The report (“Mobile Commerce Forecast: 2011 To 2016”) forecasts that five years from now, $31 billion will be spent via mobile shopping, which would be a 933% growth rate from 2010 to 2016. The report also highlights the fact that mobile shopping will change the dynamic of retail; mobile shoppers are going to have more opportunities for price comparisons and product reviews, so savvy retailers will allow store associates to use mobile technology in retail locations.

Connected Nation’s 2010 Residential Technology Assessment of 13 states and territories found that 63% of residents (or approximately 51 million adults) purchase products or services online, including 24% (or about 19 million adults) who subscribe to mobile wireless service.

How often do you shop online using your cell phone? Has mobile shopping made life easier? Let us know at, or visit us on Facebook to tell us your story.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brown County, Ohio Resident Able to Telework after Contacting Connect Ohio for Help

Diana Pitzer lives on the edge of Brown County and commutes to work in Mason, which is a 1-hour drive each way. Diana is a claims adjustor for a large insurance company. She has been with the company for 15 years. In January 2010, the company approved Pitzer to work from home.

“I leave very early to be at work by 5:30 a.m.,” said Pitzer. “In the evening, it can be an hour and a half to get home. To work at home was going to be fantastic — time-wise and, with gas prices, money-wise.”

There was just one problem. Pitzer’s home Internet speeds were not fast enough to meet her employer’s requirements. This news did not deter Pitzer and she sought a solution.

After more than a year of being told there was nothing that could be done about the Internet speeds at her home by the few Internet providers who serviced the area, Diana came across Connect Ohio and e-mailed a broadband inquiry in April 2011. Connect Ohio Technical Outreach Coordinator Ira Dye responded to Pitzer’s inquiry.

Dye knew Frontier Communications, a broadband service provider, was in the midst of deploying a new, upgraded network and southern Ohio was one of the first stages of this project. Dye reached out to Richard Hutchinson, a regional manager for Frontier, and Tena McIntosh, local manager for Frontier, regarding Pitzer’s situation.

According to Hutchinson, a new ROADM network was being deployed in Georgetown, near Pitzer’s home.

“To enhance its network and improve the overall customer experience, Frontier has begun deploying ROADM Networks (or) Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer systems, which increase the network's flexibility and deliver higher speeds, among other benefits,” said Patrician Amendola, public relations spokesperson for Frontier.

“Tena called me and said that they would be upgrading my Internet service to a higher speed,” said Pitzer. “Then a representative came out to my house (for a field check) the first week of May.”

Pitzer brought her work computer home on May 27 and began teleworking that same week.

Pitzer estimates a savings of $80 each week by no longer commuting to the office more than 40 miles away. She says she is also saving money by needing fewer oil changes and car repairs. But her biggest savings is time.

“I’m just very excited,” said Pitzer. “I get to sleep in. I can spend 2 more hours a day doing whatever … it’s like a raise … a big raise. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Connect Ohio went the extra mile to find someone to help me.”

“It’s a positive story and her life changed by these upgrades,” said Hutchinson. “Our network is more capable and we’re helping others. The real plan is to get there for everybody – 85% of Frontier’s network will be upgraded within the next three years.”

“Tena's 20-plus years of technical experience coupled with her knowledge of the Georgetown market were distinct advantages in providing Diana with the speed she required,” said Amendola. “While this high-speed Internet example is for Brown County, similar customer experiences are happening daily throughout Frontier's markets in Ohio as more and more customers are transferred onto Frontier's ROADM networks and enjoy the benefits of higher speed.”


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

President Obama Makes Milestone Visit to Island; Puerto Rico Broadband Task Force Holds Meeting

Today, President Barack Obama is making the first official visit to the island of Puerto Rico by a US president in 50 years.

President Obama’s trip is bringing emphasis to the new economy and the importance of broadband, technology, and innovation – goals that the newly created Puerto Rico Broadband Task Force is tackling.

In his prepared remarks, President Obama calls out the importance of broadband:

“(W)e’ve been trying to make sure that every family on the island can find work and make a living and provide for their children. …That’s why we’re increasing access to broadband and investing in education. …We’re giving Puerto Ricans the tools they need to build their own economic futures.”

The day before the President’s visit, the Puerto Rico Broadband Task Force held its second meeting in San Juan with a focus on preparing for the knowledge economy through broadband.

One of the outcomes of the task force's efforts is going to be a strategic broadband plan for sustainable technology expansion on the island.

Already, Connect Puerto Rico is leading the effort to increase technology use and availability across the island. Currently, Connect Puerto Rico is
studying and assisting the government in its effort to make technology a key driver of the economy, conducting residential and business technology assessments on the island.

According to these studies, only 31% of all island residents subscribe to home broadband service. By comparison, surveys show that 67% of American households subscribe to home broadband service.

Contributing to the low adoption rate is the lack of access to a home computer. Island-wide, only 55% of all residents own a home computer. This translates into more than one million adults without a home computer, with more than half of those residents saying they do not believe they need a computer.

On the business front, an estimated 12,000 Puerto Rico businesses do not use broadband. For broadband-connected businesses in Puerto Rico, median annual revenues are $200,000 more than for businesses that don’t use high-speed Internet.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

UNESCO Releases Report on Online Freedom of Expression

By Dev Joshi, Travis Lane, and John Walker, Research Analysts for Connected Nation

UNESCO-commissioned research released last week shows that there is an increase globally of online censorship and content filtering. The p
ublication, titled “Freedom of Connection – Freedom of Expression: The Changing Legal and Regulatory Ecology Shaping the Internet,” focuses on how to balance the rights to freedom of expression with other digital rights, particularly the right to access information, taking into account a widening global digital divide.

Of the more than 2 billion people worldwide using the Internet in 2010, nearly 70 million were residents in US states and territories served by Connected Nation. We work with public and private partners to help communities, institutions, and individuals bridge the digital divide, enabling access to better information and education, more efficient public service and
civic participation, supporting freedom of expression and an improved quality of life.

UNESCO recognizes that the global diffusion of the Internet has made it an increasingly central medium of expression, allowing users to inform and educate themselves, express their views, and participate in civil society. The report recommends continued efforts to reduce the digital divide as a means to support freedom of expression and access to information. Connected Nation’s research confirms that increased broadband access provides acc
ess to a variety of resources that are essential to the diffusion of knowledge and promotion of civic participation; including increased access to government and community services, media platforms to share information, and ability to create sustained dialogue.

For example, home broadband service allows residents to be more active and participate more regularly in their local government affairs. Residential Technology Assessments conducted last year in states and territories served by Connected Nation revealed that home broadband subscribers are significantly more likely than residents without home broadband access to access information about government services or policies (57% of home broadband subscribers compared to 24%). In addition, broadband subscribers were significantly more likely to interact online with state and local government officials than residents without home broadband service (49% of home broadband subscribers compared to 20%). Clearly, home broadband adoption is giving more individuals the opportunity to voice their opinions and participate in the political process.

Another vital aspect of civic participation is the ability to communicate and access or distribute information. Residential research conducted by Connected Nation in 2010 indicates that more than nine out of ten residents with home broadband service use the Internet to read newspapers, send or receive photos, or watch videos, compared to only four out of ten residents without home broadband service. Furthermore, seven out of ten residents with home broadband service communicate with others by posting content to a blog, social networking site, website, or Twitter. In comparison, only 27% of residents without home broadband service report utilizing these resources to share information and communicate. Home broadband subscribers also report having better access to community resources with nearly two-thirds of home broadband subscribers report that they use the Internet to search for information about events in their community (65% of home broadband subscribers, compared to 23% of non-subscribers).

Broadband provides a tool for citizens to engage with their government and, in broader context, communities across the globe. Online freedom is paramount as we, in the twenty-first century, rely so much on the Internet for social interaction and media.

How has high-speed broadband Internet enabled you to participate in civil society or express your views freely? How do you think we should utilize the potential of the Internet without compromising civil liberties (such as the right to freedom of expression and privacy)? Tell us at