Partnership for a Connected Illinois Announces Drew Clark as Executive Director; Founder of to Lead State Broadband Data and Deployment Effort

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, and WASHINGTON, February 25, 2010 – The Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a non-profit organization that includes partnerships with Southern Illinois University, Man-Tra-Con, and Connected Nation, on Thursday announced Drew Clark as its new Executive Director. On Wednesda

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, and WASHINGTON, February 25, 2010 – The Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a non-profit organization that includes partnerships with Southern Illinois University, Man-Tra-Con, and Connected Nation, on Thursday announced Drew Clark as its new Executive Director.

On Wednesday, PCI also unveiled BroadbandStat, a new interactive mapping tool for viewing and analyzing broadband data.

Clark, the founder of and an experienced, independent telecom industry analyst, brings a unique public interest perspective to broadband data collection, which is vital to the effective deployment of high-speed internet networks throughout the United States.

“I’m glad that our team of broadband experts is moving forward to help achieve the ambitious vision for a public, transparent map of technology infrastructure that President Obama and I share,” said Governor Pat Quinn. A long-time advocate of improving broadband access in Illinois, Governor Quinn has worked with public and private partners over many years to ensure connectivity in all areas.

As the state’s designated entity to perform broadband mapping, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois (PCI) recently received $1.8 million in funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for broadband data collection, mapping and planning activities. In 2009, led by Southern Illinois University, PCI received a start-up grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

“The Partnership for a Connected Illinois is a direct outgrowth of the highly successful endeavor in southern Illinois to use broadband deployment as the foundation to a broader economic development strategy,” said Dr. Glenn Poshard, President of Southern Illinois University.

“This undertaking has been an all-in commitment by the region’s leaders in health care, education and business, working together to unleash the job creation potential of high speed Internet access,” he said. “We have every expectation that the accomplishments achieved by this unique public-private partnership in southern Illinois can be recreated throughout the state.  Southern Illinois University welcomes Mr. Clark on board and we look forward to participating in this exciting phase of the project.”

Clark will be based in Springfield, Illinois, and will work throughout the state to ensure every community in Illinois is connected to world-class, high-speed information and communication networks. The broadband mapping efforts to be undertaken by PCI will help identify and drive both broadband supply and demand.

“The enthusiasm for broadband is palpable in Illinois,” said Clark. “The Partnership for a Connected Illinois has the opportunity to lead the nation by building a common-sense approach to data collection and deployment that maximizes broadband’s benefit for citizens, business, schools, libraries and health care providers.”

BroadbandStat is a user-friendly, web-based tool for local leaders, policymakers, consumers and technology providers to plan for the expansion and adoption of broadband. On Wednesday, Connected Nation hosted a webinar introducing BroadbandStat to all interested parties, free of charge.

“We are extremely pleased with the selection of Drew Clark as the Executive Director of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois,” said Ron Duncan, President of the Board of Directors of PCI. “He has a unique set of experiences and capabilities that make him extremely well suited for this leadership role.”

Continuing Work of Broadband Census LLC

Clark founded Broadband Census LLC in December 2007 as a means of providing the public with an objective and independent measure of broadband speeds, prices, availability, reliability and competition. Both the data and journalistic activities of Broadband Census LLC will continue.

As, Broadband Census News publishes reports on broadband stimulus, wireless broadband, and the national broadband plan. Heading up the editorial team at is Sharon McLoone.

McLoone has been a journalist for 20 years, with most of her work focusing on technology, business and politics. Her work has appeared in CNN Money, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Science, as well as smaller, more specialized publications.  Just prior to beginning with, She worked as a business reporter at and as an editor at a National Journal publication covering politics and policy of interest to the high-tech and media communities.

Also assuming a leadership role at the company is Sylvia Syracuse, Director of Marketing and Sponsorship. Syracuse manages the Broadband Breakfast Club, the popular Washington discussion group that now meets on the third Tuesday of each month at Clyde’s of Gallery Place in Washington.

Syracuse has had a long career in non-profit development and administration, and has raised funds for technology and science education, and managed a project on health information exchange by the State of New York. Her experience in community education and development also allows her to understand the community needs and infrastructure required to make broadband access effective.

On the data side, Broadband Census Data conducts independent validation at the Census block level (or smaller, if desired) of carrier-submitted broadband data. The broadband availability maps created by use no fewer than two and as many as five independent sources for validation.

Sources include: wireline footprints from publicly-citable sources, wireless footprints from radio-frequency propagation tools, carrier data, market survey data, and user-generated data. Various lists are used to validate data for speed, price, availability, technology and provider information to specific areas.

Working in collaboration with our partner Brian Webster Consulting, can perform an inclusive broadband availability study and prepare broadband availability coverage maps that can be released under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License. The data is provided in all the popular GIS file formats.

Current broadband availability maps include wireless and wireline provider (cable and telco) footprints. Members of our team conducted the data and mapping services used to complete the grant application process for American Recovery and Reinventment Act Round 1 grant winners Rivada Sea Lion in Alaska, and the North Florida Broadband Authority.

In addition to maps, the data can be used to show and tabulate the availability, speed and adoption for specific areas. This is provided in electronic report form. This information can be used to support Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and Broadband Infrastructure Program applications.

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