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.
|Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc.||$14,988,657||Sustainable Adoption|
|Connect Arkansas||$6,175,366||Broadband Data & Development|
|Connect Arkansas Inc.||$3,702,738||Sustainable Adoption|
|One Economy Corporation||$28,519,482||Sustainable Adoption|
|University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development||$62,540,162||Infrastructure|
|University of Arkansas System||$102,131,393||Infrastructure|
State Broadband Capacity Building: In its initial phase, Connect Arkansas, will develop a broad-based plan to address state broadband challenges. In collaboration with the state broadband advisory council, the Arkansas Health Information Exchange Council, the Arkansas State Library System, the Arkansas Literacy Councils, and pilot e-Communities, Connect Arkansas will address broadband access and adoption methods, and track broadband investment behaviors. It will develop and convene semi-annual training workshops to educate existing e-Community leaders and continue to develop and modify broadband strategies and share information on best practices. Additionally, it will conduct engineering assessments of broadband availability in each of 11 counties.
Application Usage and Development: Through collaboration with the Information Network of Arkansas, Connect Arkansas will work with 15 e-Community and local government leaders in the Mississippi River Valley Delta to develop tools to enable county governments to create web sites tailored to best suit each community and allow citizens to obtain vital government services online.
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 implement best practices.
Address File Development: In collaboration with the Arkansas Geographic Information Office (AGIO) and using the state E-911 file and U.S. Postal Service address database, Connect Arkansas will further develop a statewide address file, focusing first on unserved and underserved communities. During the three-year life of the project the AGIO will complete the data set and will have the files available for public use and download for 20 counties.
Arkansas, with the third-lowest per-capital income in the nation, also ranks 49th in online connectivity—29 percent of its population has never used the Internet according to the 2008 Arkansas New Economy Index and a related Connect Arkansas survey. Aware that relevancy of the Internet and digital literacy are frequent barriers to broadband adoption, Connect Arkansas is proposing a project centered around the basics of digital literacy, online entrepreneurship, and access to tele-health services. First, the project will offer basic computer training and refurbished computers to qualifying families. Second, the project will feature training in the tools of business, including writing basic business plans, the principles of entrepreneurship, and other key skills and plans to showcase student businesses through the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation. Third, Connect Arkansas also intends to collaborate with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to oversee a comprehensive broadband-based health awareness campaign and provide hands-on training to medical facilities and healthcare providers.
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.
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 University of Arkansas plans to deploy a new middle-mile fiber network across every county in the state
that will extend, integrate, and enhance the capabilities of two major community-serving networks already in
existence across 42 economically distressed and underserved counties in the Mississippi Delta region of
Arkansas: the Arkansas Telehealth Oversight & Management (ATOM) Network and the Arkansas Research &
Education Optical Network (ARE-ON). The ATOM Network represents a partnership between healthcare, higher
education, public safety, and research community organizations in Arkansas with limited bandwidth and
equipment, while ARE-ON is the state’s only publicly owned fiber optic network serving four-year universities.
The project intends to enhance the healthcare and education components of both networks by enabling remote
clinical consultations and electronic record exchange, while connecting the networks’ educational partners to
state research networks as well as Internet2 and the National Lambda Rail. The project also plans to enhance
first responder and other emergency services by providing broadband connectivity to ambulance dispatchers, the
Arkansas Trauma Communications Center, and the Arkansas Bioterrorism Network.