Thursday, June 16, 2022
Preparing Communities for Broadband Opportunity
With billions of dollars flowing through states to achieve universal broadband and digital equity, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society today released Accelerate: A Community Broadband Planning Program, a guidebook for local leaders who want to ensure their communities are not left behind. The publication of the guidebook is made possible with funding from Heartland Forward's Connecting the Heartland initiative.
The Accelerate community broadband planning program educates and supports community leadership teams as they create their community’s broadband vision and goals and pursue the best possible broadband solutions for their area.
"Good luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity," said Accelerate author Bill Coleman. "Through Accelerate we are empowering local leaders with knowledge, information, and a plan. These are the tools every community needs to extend broadband networks everywhere and connect everyone."
The Accelerate guidebook is a collaboration of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society and Blandin Foundation. Blandin originally designed the Accelerate Program for Minnesota, creating many of the tools shared in this guidebook. The Benton Institute is implementing the Accelerate Program in Illinois and other states with the support of Heartland Forward and its Connecting the Heartland initiative.
"Active engagement of community leadership is essential so that broadband infrastructure investments meet long-term community needs," said Bernadine Joselyn, who directs Blandin Foundation’s Public Policy and Engagement program area. "Community broadband planning is complicated; Accelerate simplifies the process by breaking down its many parts."
Angie Cooper, Chief Program Officer at Heartland Forward said, "With unprecedented federal funding to increase access to high-speed internet, it is so important for local communities to have the tools necessary to create a plan to ensure their residents are connected as soon as possible. Heartland Forward is proud to work alongside our partners to provide resources for local leaders and community members, so communities in the heartland have the support they need. We thank Benton Institute for their continued engagement and expertise to bring Accelerate: A Community Broadband Planning Program to the heartland region."
Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.
Blandin Foundation is a private foundation based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. One of a handful of rural-based, rural-serving foundations in the country, Blandin Foundation serves rural Minnesota, focusing resources in north-central Minnesota. Our grants, opportunities that connect rural leaders, and policy work build up financial and human capital, so rural Minnesota places can welcome diversity, address injustice, and embrace change to create a sustainable and equitable future.
Heartland Forward is a nonpartisan, nonprofit "think and do tank" focused on improving economic performance in the center of the United States. Heartland Forward is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, but its work focuses on the entire heartland region which is comprised of 20 states. The Connecting the Heartland initiative is a multi-pronged, multi-state initiative in America's heartland working to boost internet availability, internet speeds, adoption rates, and participation in online services that are key to opportunity.
The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.
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