August, 2009Texas has joined a growing number of states using ESRI geographic information system (GIS) technology to create broadband inventory maps that better position them for competitive funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The maps will be produced with the help of Connected Nation, a nonprofit corporation, using ESRI's ArcGIS Desktop and Server software. Applicants for broadband stimulus funds can use the maps to provide compelling evidence for their cases.
"We are excited about this new partnership," said Texas agriculture commissioner Todd Staples. "Connected Nation will help Texas close the digital divide between urban and rural communities in our state. By creating a broadband map, we will learn which areas are unserved and underserved. This critical knowledge will lead to developing projects that bring high-speed Internet to all Texans, which will enhance economic development, expand educational opportunities, and improve health care." Connected Nation will partner with the Texas Department of Agriculture to create Connected Texas, the entity that will head the broadband initiative.
Connected Nation has worked with seven other states (Kentucky, Ohio, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia) to promote access to and use of high-speed Internet connections. The first step in its approach is to create a complete picture of a state's gaps in broadband coverage by way of intelligent map products that combine service data from broadband providers with detailed, street-level maps and local demographics. GIS analysis identifies optimum areas for development potential at the street, household, and census block levels.
ESRI's Web-enabled ArcGIS Server makes it possible to share these maps on the Internet with interactive capabilities, which gives service providers, businesses, and consumers a way to easily access the broadband coverage information. Connected Nation also offers a toll-free telephone hotline for consumers without Internet access.
Public and private entities are competing for more than $4 billion in federal stimulus funds that will be dispersed as grants and loans to build and expand broadband infrastructure, public computing centers, and sustainable broadband adoption programs. Federal funds are also available for states to create and maintain GIS broadband maps. Having served as the archetype for the Broadband Data Improvement Act state initiative grant program, Connected Nation's proven procedures are seamlessly aligned with the goals and guidelines of ARRA.
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About Connected Nation
Connected Nation is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that expands access to and use of broadband Internet and the related technologies that are enabled when individuals and communities have the opportunity and desire to connect. Connected Nation effectively raises the awareness of the value of broadband and related technologies by developing coalitions of influencers and enablers for technology deployment and adoption. Connected Nation works with community stakeholders, states, and technology providers to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked.
Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at http://www.esri.com.
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