Governor Donald L. Carcieri and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) today announced the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded RIEDC $1.5 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities.
The grant program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aims to increase broadband access and adoption through better data collection and broadband planning. The data will be displayed in NTIA’s national broadband map, a tool that will inform policymakers and provide consumers with improved information on the broadband Internet services available to them.
“In addition to its role as a tool for job creation, broadband access will also allow for greater educational and workforce development opportunities for our community,” said Governor Donald L. Carcieri. “The availability of broadband access plays an increasingly more important role in our local economy. Broadband access is important to our efforts to serve our existing businesses and its availability will be a key factor in our efforts to recruit new jobs to our area.”
NTIA, under its State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program, awarded RIEDC approximately $1 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and almost $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period in Rhode Island, bringing the total grant award to approximately $1.5 million. RIEDC is the designated entity for the state of Rhode Island for this project.
“RIEDC is thrilled to receive this award from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration,” says J. Michael Saul, Interim Executive Director, RIEDC. “High-speed Internet access is an economic development necessity and needed across all industries. With one of the fastest and highest quality broadband infrastructures in the United States, Rhode Island is ready to support the national agenda on the proliferation and increase in broadband adoption to make the United States more competitive in 21st century global economy.”
The funds will be used to generate data and create a map that identifies the state’s broadband coverage and distinguishes between served, underserved and non-served areas as defined by the NTIA. The data will be used by the state to develop plans to increase both the growth and adoption of broadband networks in the state. In addition, the data will feed into the national broadband map being created by the NTIA.
Funds will also be used to undertake broadband planning activities for Rhode Island which will include the analysis of the data, recommendations and dissemination of broadband mapping data to state agencies, business, residents and other concerned groups through reports, roundtables and town hall-style meetings. In addition, the data will be made available to the public, with certain restrictions to account for confidentiality of supplier information, through a state website and will also be linked to a Department of Commerce webpage.