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Blog // Connect Ohio

Connected Nation at Work

By Connected Nation

A Connectedsm community designation shows that a community is equipped with broadband capabilities that meet FCC standards. This can help to attract young professionals, encourage new businesses and upstarts, improve real estate prospects, and give community members access to important online resources. The process to become a Connected community relies on community participation and a forward-thinking attitude, and it begins with community members that want to make a difference.

Starting Out
Getting started and seeing if the Connected Community Engagement program is right for your community is as simple as reaching out to Connected Nation through our community engagement page. When considering Connected certification, it is important to know what you hope to achieve. Many communities are seeking to better their broadband and make connections with ISPs; others already have widespread, reliable broadband and are seeking certification to advertise their capabilities.

Community Champions 
Broadband touches every part of a community, including businesses, government, schools, non-profits, households, and more. Assessing, quantifying, and improving broadband resources requires community participation and an organizer who can rally volunteers and meet with residents at every level. These exceptional individuals are Community Champions and they are liaisons between their community and Connected staff.

Broadband Assessment
To improve or market broadband capabilities, it is first essential to know what is available in the community. The broadband assessment calls on residents, businesses, libraries, schools, and other groups to quantify their broadband access, digital education programs, technology use, and other areas. The Connected program will provide these assessments and help community members—particularly the Community Champion—deliver and document them.

Action Plan
Completion of the broadband assessment will highlight which areas the community needs to improve. This includes the areas of access, adoption, and use, which defines how easily community members can get broadband in the area, how widely it is used, and to what degree broadband technology and digital literacy is understood. From the information gathered, we develop a Technology Action Plan to address how to meet the challenges. This may include starting or expanding digital literacy classes, encouraging ISPs to expand coverage, or using broadband in new ways. Each Technology Action Plan is unique to the community, though successes by other Connected communities can help to plot the course.

Connected Certification
Successful completion of the Technology Action Plan means significant improvements in broadband access, adoption, and use. Once the Connected assessment and plan are complete, communities are eligible to be recognized as a Connected Community.

Successful completion of the Connected certification may take a few months or, in some cases, up to three years. Once the process starts, there is no deadline for completion and communities can take on the criteria at their own pace. Once the community is Connected certified, it shows prospective homeowners, business owners, and tourists that the area is equipped with modern resources and infrastructure. To learn more about Connected programs in your state, contact Connected Nation today.

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About the author: Sam Stemler is a blogger, copywriter, and novelist. She writes for non-profit groups, marketing agencies, web hosting businesses, small businesses and more across the U.S. Sam enjoys telling real stories for businesses through social media, blogs, and news stories, and telling exciting fantasy and science fiction stories in her novels. To contact Sam, email her at samstemler@gmail.com

 

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