Please indulge me while I tell you a quick story about an important technology. This technology changed the lives of urban residents, transformed communities and created new economic opportunities for businesses in Wisconsin’s cities. However, most rural homes, farms and businesses didn’t have access to this technology. The low population density and distances between rural households and communities meant too little demand relative to the high cost of constructing a delivery network and thus little potential for profit. As a result, rural America went without service for over two decades. Rural residents, communities and businesses that wanted access had to finance the infrastructure themselves. When they did, the prevailing rates were commonly twice as high as urban rates. What was this powerful and essential technology? Electricity Local rural leaders responded by creating rural electric cooperatives. With low-interest loans from the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), local coops built networks of transmission lines and provided farmers with electricity. The task of organizing rural electric cooperatives was generally left to local leaders; they organized meetings, collected fees, enrolled consumers, and worked with the REA on program details. Here in Wisconsin, on May 7, 1937, the states first co-op, the Richland Electric Cooperative, went into service. The founding President of the Richland Electric Cooperative was Richland County Extension Agent A.V. (Vernon) Miller who served as President until 1943. Within fifteen years, 90% of American farms had electricity2
In Celebration of Wisconsin’s Sesquicentennial, retired Dean, Ayse Somersan wrote this book in 1997.
Historically communities developed along important waterways, then stage coach roads , riailroads and highways (and other infrastructure like mills and electicity). Why? Access to markets. Where is your nearest on-ramp to the world-market via the Internet ? How many lanes does it have and what is the speed limit? Successful communities and their businesses in the next years will be those that tap into this huge potential. Successful communities will be those that bring this essential infrastructure to their community.
The Federal Communications Commission defines broadband as any connection that transfers data at speeds greater than 768 kilo bits per second.There is a problem with the idea that – if it’s not dial-up, it must be broadband.Do not confuse broadband with “really fast.”An alternative definition is connection that does not limit applications such as Voice Over Internet Protocol and web-based video streaming.
Judson Edwards concludes that “access to telecommunications technology may be a necessary condition for rural economic growth, but it is far from sufficient. We have to provide broadband access….and teach people and businesses how to maximize its use for improved public safety, governmental services, telemedicine and electronic commerce.
Digital exclusion has a huge impact – more than $55 billion annually, including $15 billion in lost economic opportunities and $15 billion in health care costs.
While Wisconsin is adding high-speed lines, we’re not adding them as fast as the country as a whole or as fast as our neighboring states: 381% increase in Wis. vs 478% in US and 572% in Iowa.
Wisconsin is behind neighboring states’ & US averages in the percentage of high-speed lines providing broadband connectivity for business use (28% compared to 40% US and Minnesota averages ).Wisconsin also is behind in connecting farms.Of Wisconsin farms, 29 percent have high-speed Internet access vs. 33% in US (2007 data).
The Broadband Technology Opportunities program launched this year provides some hope for helping us bridge the divide but its not going to solve the problem. The second and last phase of this funding was announced this month, and like the rural electrification example I gave you earlier, U.W. Extension will be submitting an application that proposes to increase the level of connectivity in 5 pilot communities, that the rest of the state can learn from. Those communities are Superior, The Chippewa Valley, Wausau, the Menominee Nation and Platteville.
CCI = $42.7 million ($29.9 request, $9.2 cash match, $3.6 in-kind contribution)SBA = $3.4 million ($2.4 request, $753,845 cash match, $221,096 in-kind contribution)
Demonstration communities benefitting from the $29.9-million Comprehensive Community Infrastructure grant are the Chippewa Valley region, Platteville, Superior and Wausau. The $2.4-million Sustainable Broadband Adoption grant benefits those four communities and the Menominee Nation with outreach and education.The project – known as Building Community Capacity through Broadband – is supported by additional donations in the form of cash or in-kind contributions by local and statewide partners.
I would like to point out that most of the money that is being requested will actually be spent on private sector services. However, the money will go to vendors that chose to bid on the request for services and some companies like AT&T opted not to do that.
*A Community Area Network is the interconnection of community anchor institutions (such as schools, libraries, colleges, universities, municipalities, hospitals) within a region through network services delivered primarily via optical fiber.*The institutions build networks that meet current and future needs identified by the served institutions. *A Community Area Network also is a consortium of organizations organized to manage the fiber-based network services and to deliver community-focused education regarding advanced broadband uses.*Examples of Wisconsin CANs include: CINC (Chippewa Valley Inter-Networking Consortium) and PCAN (Platteville Community Area Network).
These are the principles that guided our work.
Your handout includes details about the planned broadband leadership development & educational programming.
Your handout on the BCCB Awareness Campaign includes details on the *community-based campaign through Community Area Networks and local broadband coalitions* and the statewide campaign through ICS, WPT, WPR and the BCCB website.
Building Community Capacity through Broadband
2010 Connections and Engagement
October 21, 2010
Professor Andrew Lewis
Building Community Capacity
Build awareness of broadband & its
importance to community
Expand understanding of the role of
engagement in building healthy
Stimulate thinking about UWEX’s role
in building broadband capacity
Name This Technology
Once upon a time…..
Building Organizational Capacity
It describes the work of the university’s extension
faculty in building some of the state (and nation’s)
great organizations and movements.
“There is a formula to this history,” said
Somersan. “It has to do with the people involved
in creating self-sustaining organizations and
movements. They have all been tops in their field,
they all had a deep passion for what they were
doing. They had very strong bonds with
community leaders, partnered very well with
others, and were willing to do the grunt work it
takes to nurture organizations from birth to
What is Broadband?
Federal Communication Commission (FCC)
• Any connection that transfers data at
speeds greater than 768 kbps
• Medical Transmissions (Up to 50 mbits/sec)
• Full Motion Video (1 -2 gbits/sec)
• Connection that does not limit application
(i.e. VoIP, web-based video streaming)
What is broadband?
1 Gbps: ‘Broadband’
What is Broadband?
Don’t confuse promising new tools with
“In short, access to telecommunications
technology may be a necessary condition for
rural economic growth, but it is far from
sufficient.” (Digital Deliverance, p. xiv)
Dr. Judson Edwards, Director
of the Center for International
Business, Troy University
Why is broadband important?
Digital exclusion costs
$55 billion annually.
Percentage Increase in the Number of
High Speed Lines (’03-’08)
Percentage of High Speed Lines for
Business Use (June 2008)
Build community leadership
Link broadband expertise &
knowledge with the communities
Create opportunity for innovation
Community Area Networks
How to lead together
Broadband use to improve quality
of life & local economy
Development & Education
Broadband use webinars
Virtual Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club
Community broadband assessment tool
Best practices video case studies
How many of you are engaged in
building community capacity
Building Community Capacity
Office of Community
Univeristy of Wisconsin
Professor Andy Lewis
Community and Economic Development
Building Community Capacity through
Office of Community Sustainability
610 Langdon St.
Madison, WI 53703
Educational Technology Liaison
WiscNet - Wisconsin's Research and