Widely recognized as the infrastructure challenge of our time, the advancement of broadband access, adoption and application is a key strategy toward a community’s promise and potential. As such, broadband is important for a range of reasons extending from the ability to connect with friends and family to the delivery of modern cost effective health care services. More specifically, extensive research in Alabama over the past three years highlights the following strategic needs across the state: Distance education in response to workforce development issues, Telehealth services extending the reach and affordability of quality family health in rural areas, Enhanced public safety (including emergency preparedness),Improved local government efficiency and Technology applications focused on agriculture and tourism. Advancements to support state-wide economic development in the Global economy.The benefits pursued across these priorities depend on all three facets of the broadband question: Access – are quality / relevant broadband services available to people across the state?Adoption – are important populations availing themselves to the service when it is available?Application – are the applications in place so that people can achieve maximum potential of their goals?
The Alabama Dashboard is a site designed to provide a community or an organization the tools needed to write or craft a competitive application. The available tools include:The availability map is a heat map showing current broadband availability data. (A heat map is a graphical representation of data where the individual values contained in a matrix are represented as colors.) It does NOT show what people currently subscribe to or where people are actually connected, but rather what is available to them. The availability map is developed based upon information received in provider surveys, market research and licensed data products. The demand map geographically pinpoints current subscription data for individual community anchor institutions (CAI) and demand needs for these institutions plus business and residential locations. A subscription rate overlay is also available at the census tract level. The map can be viewed at a state, county and region level. The information present from the Community Anchor Institutions menu (current subscription type, speed, address and name) is obtained from a statewide data collection effort. Data from the Broadband Demand Locations menu (whether or not a location has broadband service and its industry type) is directly sourced from the ConnectingALABAMA demand surveys. The subscription rate overlay for census tracts are percentiles from FCC-477 data.The Subscription Mapl shows the subscription rates of each census tract from a region and county level. A button at the bottom also allows for the data from the current view to be downloaded in a .csv (Excel friendly) file.Additional papers and research are also available:Visioning Research Final Report from the Interview Process (pdf)The final report summarizing the major insights obtained from interviews with twenty-one Alabamians representing a unique geography and/or sector of Alabama’s future. These individual, confidential, non-directive, open-ended interviews were conducted in the spring of 2009 followed by a facilitated interactive process to create consensus for a positive, beneficial vision enabled through Broadband over the next 10 years.Awareness Movies LinkSeveral short videos on how broadband can be used to help Alabama become a stronger, healthier, better-educated and more economically competitive state.Survey Research 2011 Survey Report LinkConsumer study was conducted to capture Alabamian’s opinions regarding broadband as it relates to their respective local communities and to the state. 2011 Survey Results LinkPresentation of the 2011 Survey Report in a pdf format. 2009 Survey Instrument (pdf) LinkCopy of the 2009 Consumer Survey administered by phone to a 1,600 household sample. 2009 Results LinkThe results from the 2009 Consumer Survey.
As with most parts of the country the issue in Alabama is not urban…it’s rural. The larger cities in Alabama are well covered in terms of speed, choice (variety of service providers) and technologies available. The ConnectingALABAMA intereactive mapping capability shows coverage in terms of the number of providers serving an area across the entire state, areas that do not have coverage, and areas by types of servce. As is evident, the major metro areas are well addressed which is largely a function of economic opportunity and longstanding economies of scale. That said, a quick scan into the rural areas still shows a significant issue for the state overall with vast areas having only limited coverage…if any.Within the backdrop of Alabama’s rural access issue, Alabama’s state-wide adoption challenges are fairly daunting. According to a recently updated national study performed by the NTIA the State of Alabama ranks 48th in the nation in terms of adoption. Followed only by Arkansas and Mississippi, Alabama has only a 59% adoption rate in urban markets and 47% in rural markets. Alabama has a serious adoption issue. Exploring the Digital Nation – Computer and Internet Usage at Home. National Telecommunications and Information Administration, November 2011.
An important element of broadband planning is a comprehensive view of efforts already underway across the state. One of the most important is of course the regional planning effort hosted by ADECA’s ConnectingALABAMA team to identify local broadband priorities and design and execute a set of investment plans. Detail to the regional plans is available at www.connectingalabama.gov. Of particular note are regional investment plans designed to:Infrastructure Committees: Create and engage an effective infrastructure committee to engage with service providers and public officials and seek out win-win opportunities to advance the reach of broadband.Awareness Campaigns: Develop, promote and leverage a variety of broadband awareness campaigns designed to move the needle on the state-wide adoption issue cited above.Computer Access: Develop and promote a ComputerMobile-like approach to providing access to those who lack a computer at home and at the same time, encourage our non-users to explore the benefits on a connected world.Correctional Institutions: Facilitate the coordination of broadband access and applications designed to serve our correctional institutions and the variety of agencies they engage with – from county court houses to local medical facilities.
It is always tempting to look at these broad statistics and say “what problem…we have 90+% of our population living in areas with access at or above 6 Mbps.” The issue with this – obviously – is that we take at least 10% of our state’s human capital out of the game with this perspective and that is not a path to a well-informed economically viable future for the state of Alabama and all who call her home. The other troubling reality behind this is that much of the unserved territory is in the rural parts of our state – thereby further diminishing the quality and promise of life in our historically rich rural culture. When coupled with Alabama’s persistent rural poverty statistics (Alabama rural poverty stands at 21.8% while the national rate is 17.8%), the opportunity afforded our rural residents seems even more bleak.
When asked why they don’t subscribe to broadband service the following top two reasons cited in the 2011 survey were (1) I don’t have a computer and (2) it’s too expensive. Adoption issues are every bit as important as access issues. And ongoing work across the country demonstrates, local adoption experience can be improved through a sustained, well organized and appropriately targeted set of initiatives. Relevant to this issue in Alabama the chart here (taken from the ConnectingALABAMA 2011 Consumer Survey) provides a quick list of those things that would motivate folks to subscribe to broadband as a way to access the Internet. Note: even the 21% “Nothing” response to this question (taken from the 2011 Consumer Survey) warrants attention in that it often reflects a lack of knowledge as to what can be done with and through the Internet in today’s connected world.
Project Goals: Alabama will bridge the digital divide by developing and delivering awareness campaigns and interactive training modules to boost broadband subscribership in underserved communities. The initiative will educate and train end-users in the social and economic benefits and practical applications of broadband and will foster a climate that continues to promote supply where there is demand. Members of AL’s 67 County Extension Advisory Boards (leaders of community anchor institutions in each county) will advise local broadband training and awareness efforts and help select training modules to match local human, community and economic development needs. Each CEC will deliver at least three modules per year to target audiences to boost local broadband usage, demand and subscribership. The use of CECs as trainers, who will remain in the community and champion the program after grant funds are gone, and the establishment of a strong statewide network of enduring entities, provides sustainability. Project Focus: Unserved and underserved communities, specifically focusing on at risk populations, including (but not limited to) low-income individuals, minority groups, persons for whom English is a second language, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities. Partners:Alabama Community College System,Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, Auburn University Economic Development Institute, Alabama Cooperative Extension Program, The Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, Poarch Creek IndiansAmerican Association of Retired Persons, Alabama Community Leadership Network, Alabama Rural Development Office
Jessica dent connecting alabama short
The ALABAMA Broadband InitiativeConnectingALABAMA began as a state-specific initiative under Governor Riley through ExecutiveOrder 42. It continues today under the leadership of Governor Bentley . Funded by theDepartment of Commerce, National Telecommunications & Information AdministrationAmerican Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Broadband Mapping & Planning NTIA’s State Broadband Initiative (SBI) Previously known as the State Broadband Data and Development Program (SBDDP) Mapping the current environment, prioritizing communityneeds, and supporting initiatives to promote the availability and sustainable adoption of broadband in Alabama MAPPING PLANNING • Collecting provider data • 12 regions cover all 67 under NDA counties • Filling in data gaps with • Mirror economic alternative sources development structure • Validating the data • ADECA-based planners lead • Informing the national map process • Informing and hosting the • LinkAMERICA / VT360 support state map • Focus on ACCESS and ADOPTION
www.alabamadashboard.orgA variety of tools…• Research material• Demand maps• Interactive videos• Consumer survey• State datasets• Data consoles•Funding Resources
VISION Alabama Broadband Cost Model…To collect, develop and deliver informationfor the development of telecommunicationassets for the benefit of families, businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, government agencies, and others to access and apply broadband tools and services that will secure Alabama’s future during the Technology Age. A central issue in the advancement of broadband availability across the state is the lack of infrastructure to support the delivery of broadband service to unserved areas. The singular purpose of the initial cost model is to estimate the cost to deploy and operate a viable broadband service to currently unserved markets, as defined by the NTIA and FCC.Regional Investment Plans
Region 1: Region 12: • BB Access for Communities 1,000+ • BB Infrastructure committee • Hardware Expansion • Connect county jails • BB Marketing campaign • Map Access to Agricultural Locations Region 11: Region 4: • BB Infrastructure committee • Expand Rural Public Computing Centers • Access for Low Income areas • Rural Tele-health • Youth Technology Committee • Electronics Recycling/Redistribution Region 2: Region 10: • BB Infrastructure committee • Internet safety training • Downtown Wireless System Pilot • Training for Chamber, etc. • Connect County Jails • Access to Parks (Chewacla) Region 3: Region 9:• Map Access to Business and Industrial areas • BB Awareness Campaign • Access for Low Income areas • Expand Rural Public Computing • BB Awareness Campaign • Targeted Consumer Survey Region 6: Region 5: • Infrastructure committee • BB Awareness Campaign • Computer Mobile (Book Mobile) • Community Website Template • School/Community Access Partnership • Broadband Training Program • Hardware Expansion for Seniors Region 7: • BB Policy Committee Region 8: • Small Business BB Awareness Campaign • Encourage efficiency in local gov • Broadband Training Program • Electronic Redistribution •Emerging Technology Training 6
Home BB Availability vs. BB Subscribers 120% 100% 97% 97% 96% 94% 94% 95% 94% 95% 92% 92% 92% 93% 86% 83% 80% 80% 78% 77% 76% 75% 73% 73% 69% 68% 69% 61% 59% 60% BB (available) Have BB Svc. 40% 20% % Alabama Region 1 Region 2 Region 3 Region 4 Region 5 Region 6 Region 7 Region 8 Region 9 Region Region Region 10 11 12 6. Which of the following services are in your home? Select all that apply.7. Which of the following companies or agencies offer broadband in your area? Select all that apply. (n=4,656)
Boosting Broadband toBridge the Digital DivideSustainable broadband adoption
Boosting Broadband to Bridge the Digital Divide • Goal- Deliver awareness and interactive training modules to boost broadband subscribership • Target- Unserved and underserved communities Specifically targeting at risk populations:• Challenge- Success hinges directly on consumer participation• Strategy- Utilize Partner organizations in Marketing and awareness programs • ConnectingALABAMA Regional Planning Teams • County Extension Coordinators and Boards • Connected Community Forums • Public Service Announcements • Social Media • Billboards • Mascots
Contact Us Jessica Dent Nichole D’Andrea Executive Director Statewide Outreach Manager (334) 353-5682 (251) 363-3844 Jessica.Dent@adeca.alabama.gov firstname.lastname@example.org Chelese Beck Jennifer Felder Josh Phillips Regions 1, 3, 8, 11 Region 4, 6, 10, 12 Region 4, 5, 7, 9 (334) 353-3376 (334) 353-3374 (334) 353-3375Chelese. Beck@adeca.alabama.gov Jennifer.Felder@adeca.alabama.gov Josh.email@example.com www.ConnectingALABAMA.gov