Broadband’s ability to expand educational and employment opportunities is especially meaningful for Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing, a community that faces unique challenges in education and that suffers from a rate of unemployment much higher than the national average. Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) intends to expand broadband adoption among people who are deaf and hard of hearing and provide them with online tools to more fully participate in the digital economy. The project proposes to employ a combination of discounted broadband service and specialized computers, technology training from an online state-of-the art support center customized to the community’s needs, public access to videophones at anchor institutions from coast to coast, and a nationwide outreach initiative. Thousands will gain online access to all the Internet has to offer, including sign language interpreters, captioned video services, and other content and functionalities designed especially to advance their educational, employment, and healthcare interests.
Enhancing Connectivity in Northern Pennsylvania proposes to increase broadband Internet connection speeds for community anchor institutions and underserved areas isolated by difficult, mountainous terrain across the northern half of the state. The project will leverage Pennsylvania’s existing microwave public safety communications network by adding a parallel 150 Mbps Ethernet backbone stretching 649 miles across the state, as well as 612 miles of fixed wireless links. The Commonwealth, working with last mile providers, expects to connect at least 530 anchor institutions to this shared backbone and the public Internet. The project will enhance the interoperability of public safety communications across the region, improve health and safety services, and allow emergency medical service providers to connect to trauma and medical specialists quickly and reliably.
The ION Upstate New York Rural Broadband Initiative proposes to build 10 new segments of fiber-optic, middle mile broadband infrastructure, serving more than 70 rural communities in upstate New York and parts of Pennsylvania and Vermont. The ION project plans to construct a 1,308-mile network to offer broadband speeds of one to 10 Gbps to serve more than 300 anchor institutions and immediately connect more than 100, including libraries, state and community colleges, state and county agencies, and health clinics. ION plans to extend its relationship with the New York State Office for Mental Health, along with the Basset Hospital and Healthcare System, to expand many of its telemedicine practices.
The Pennsylvania Research and Education Network (PennREN) project is a partnership of leading universities, healthcare providers, library associations, and other key institutions. PennREN will be a nearly 1,700-mile fiber network that expects to expand broadband Internet access and directly connect 60 critical community anchor institutions in 39 counties across South and Central Pennsylvania. These anchor institutions include public and private universities, K–12 schools, public libraries, public broadcasting facilities, and medical facilities. With broadband speeds of 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps, PennREN is expected to enhance healthcare delivery, research, education, workforce development, and public safety. Wholesale services offered are expected to spur the offering of affordable broadband access for more than 2 million households, more than 200,000 businesses, and nearly 1,700 additional anchor institutions.
The Mission Economic Development Agency, in collaboration with the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders and a national network of Latino-serving economic development organizations, plans to create 12 new public computer centers and expand five existing ones in 13 communities throughout the United States. Each center expects to operate on the project’s centrally managed network and provide computer training and adult education to a low broadband adoption, high unemployment target population through a standardized English-Spanish training curriculum. The project expects to add a total of 263 new workstations and replace 37 existing workstations, enabling the centers to serve an additional 2,500 users per week and train an estimated 3,000 users per year. Broadband capabilities at each center will be increased to speeds of 1.5 Mbps. Public computer centers funded through this grant will be located in Phoenix, AZ; Canoga Park, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, CA; Del Norte, CO; Blackfoot, ID; Wheaton, MD; Minneapolis, MN; Kansas City, MO; Anthony, NM; Philadelphia, PA; and San Antonio and Laredo, TX.
To provide predominantly low-income, African American communities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with better
Internet access and online tools, Wireless Neighborhoods is proposing to establish four public computer
centers to serve six of Pittsburgh’s economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. The centers, which intend to
serve the East Liberty, Garfield, Larimer, Homewood, Hill District, and Hill Top neighborhoods, would allow
residents to check out laptops for use at the centers, or to borrow them overnight once they complete a 40-hour
training program. Pittsburgh CONNECTS also proposes a laptop lease-to-buy program through which members
could purchase laptops on zero percent interest plans after completing their broadband adoption training.
The 21st Century Information and Support Ecosystem project proposes to implement a comprehensive program of computer training, wireless Internet access, broadband awareness marketing, and online content and applications to residents of 159 affordable and public housing developments and low-income communities in 50 cities and towns across 31 states and the District of Columbia. The project plans to implement four principal programs: training 2,500 youth to become “Digital Connectors” who will then provide digital literacy training to others in their communities; deploying localized broadband networks in public housing developments; developing online content and applications aimed at low-income, low-literacy audiences.
State Broadband Capacity Building:
This project supports activities to ensure the successful direction, implementation, and monitoring of Pennsylvania’s broadband projects and related activities, and transfer the oversight of the state’s existing mapping program from the current consulting organization to the state. The state broadband office will direct the implementation of the state’s broadband plan, coordinate broadband activities across state and local governments, and sustain broadband as a priority planning area for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania proposes this technical assistance program to qualifying organizations that do not have the knowledge or technical expertise to adopt, implement, and sustain broadband solutions. Through a partnership with local community and economic development organizations, and experienced technical assistance providers, the “Kick Start” technical assistance program will provide specific assistance, such as e‐commerce and e‐marketing training, to community anchor institutions and businesses; while fostering and facilitating the implementation of connectivity solutions; computer and information security, disaster planning/recovery and business continuity, supply chain management opportunities, and public computer center setup. After organizations complete the Kick Start program, they will have the opportunity to participate in a two-year intensive training, technical assistance, and implementation program to increase the organization’s use of broadband in order to maximize the impact it can have on their constituencies.
Research consultants will conduct broadband cost modeling and develop tools that estimate the costs of deploying and maintaining broadband services in unserved or underserved regions of Pennsylvania . This project will also support a statewide research and benchmarking effort to ascertain, measure, and track barriers to broadband adoption among Pennsylvania manufacturers and evaluating the impact of broadband adoption on growth, productivity, and competitiveness within this sector.
Data Collection, Integration, and Validation:
This project was originally funded for broadband planning activities and two years of data collection. In September of 2010, this project was amended to extend data collection activities for an additional three years and to identify and implement best practices.
The City of Philadelphia is working to close the digital divide by establishing a network of public computer centers to serve the city’s most economically vulnerable residents. The Philadelphia Freedom Rings project plans to create or enhance 77 of these centers, with the goal of providing access for an additional 13,000 residents on a weekly basis. Most of the centers will be located in neighborhoods with the least access to broadband and in greatest need of economic development, specifically neighborhoods in North, West, and South Philadelphia where the child poverty rate can reach 40% and fewer than half the homes have Internet access. The project plans to provide broadband education, awareness, training, access, and equipment by way of these centers located in 19 recreation centers, 10 homeless shelters, 15 affordable housing sites, libraries, and community-based organizations working with high-risk populations, thus driving broadband demand, local economic growth, and job creation.
To address the related problems of pervasive poverty and low broadband adoption rates in urban Philadelphia, the Urban Affairs Coalition proposes a strategic outreach, access, and training program targeted to residents with no or limited at-home Internet access. This project intends to focus on the most economically and socially vulnerable populations, including at-risk youth, ex-offenders, public housing residents, seniors, the homeless, and people living with HIV/AIDS through project partners selected for their expertise in serving these groups. The project includes a four-stage adoption model: (1) awareness; (2) trial; (3) acceptance; and (4) conversion. By distributing 5,000 laptop computers to public housing residents who complete a broadband training curriculum, the project proposes to create a class of broadband adoption ambassadors to illustrate the benefits of access and adoption to the community at large.
As part of a longstanding project to connect essential community anchor institutions across the country, and facilitate closer collaboration and long-term benefits for education, research, healthcare, public safety, and government services, the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID) proposes a comprehensive 50-state network benefitting approximately 121,000 community anchors. The project proposes a large-scale, public-private partnership to interconnect more than 30 existing research and education networks, creating a dedicated 100-200 Gbps nationwide fiber backbone with 3.2 terabits per second (TBps) total capacity that would enable advanced networking features such as IPv6 and video multicasting. The project plans to connect community anchors across all disciplines into virtual communities with shared goals and objectives, including colleges, universities, libraries, major veterans and other health care facilities, and public safety entities, with additional benefits to tribes, vulnerable populations, and government entities.
The Northeastern Ohio and Northwestern Pennsylvania Fiber Ring Project intends to create a 382-mile fiber ring with 10 gigabits of capacity through the counties of Geauga, Ashtabula, and Trumbull in Northeastern Ohio, and the counties of Erie, Crawford, and Mercer counties in Northwestern Pennsylvania. These areas generally have high unemployment and low income and are generally underserved in terms of broadband due to low population density. The project plans to deploy 342 miles of new fiber and 40 miles of leased fiber to directly connect an estimated 60 community anchor institutions at speeds from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps, including hospitals, schools, public safety agencies, colleges, and libraries.