Expanding the Benefits of Broadband in Mississippi
February 11, 2015 by NTIA
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s BroadbandUSA team convened a productive workshop in Jackson, Miss., last week to explore ways to close the digital divide in a state that continues to expand broadband connectivity and adoption.
The event was the second in a series of regional workshops that NTIA is hosting across the country as part of its new BroadbandUSA program, which is helping communities improve local broadband capacity and utilization.
The new initiative – highlighted by President Obama last month – builds on lessons learned and best practices from NTIA’s successful broadband grant programs, which invested more than $4 billion in network infrastructure, public computer centers, digital literacy training and broadband mapping. BroadbandUSA provides resources – including technical assistance, toolkits and guides – to help communities assess local broadband needs, engage stakeholders, explore business models, evaluate financing options and attract private-sector investment.
The Mississippi workshop – presented in cooperation with the non-profit Connect MS and the Mississippi Economic Development Council – drew panelists and attendees from across the Gulf Region. But much of the focus was on Mississippi, which in 2009 created a statewide taskforce to coordinate efforts on broadband policy.
In 2010, the state received NTIA funding to map broadband availability and establish a non-profit public-private partnership, the Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition, to develop a plan to close the state’s broadband gaps. Connect MS is now continuing that work.
How broadband mapping is helping to chart broadband progress.