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Livingston, Ogemaw Counties Launch Broadband Plans

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Fiber optic cables. Wikimedia Commons photo from Sandia National Laboratories

Fiber optic cables. Wikimedia Commons photo from Sandia National Laboratories

(credit: istock) Technology Report
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SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) — Ogemaw County unveiled its Technology Action Plan Tuesday as part of its participation in Connect Michigan’s Connected Community Engagement Program.

Also, Livingston County plans to unveil its Technology Action Plan Thursday.

The Technology Action Plan sets general community-wide broadband connectivity goals to work toward that will support economic development and residential quality of life.

“Reliable and affordable broadband connectivity is a priority of the East Michigan Council of Governments and its 14 county membership,” said Jane Fitzpatrick, economic and community development programs coordinator for the East Michigan Council of Governments. “Broadband is crucial to the sustainability of a community, the educational system, health and medical services, emergency management and response, commerce, tourism and so many other aspects of our lives.”

The Connected Community Engagement Program supports the development of a comprehensive strategy for building a “connected” community by reviewing the technology landscape, developing regional partnerships, establishing local teams, and conducting a thorough community assessment of the broadband infrastructure. There are 26 Michigan communities engaged in the program and Ogemaw County is the 11th community to complete a plan.

The new plan gives the community step-by-step action items to make sure that the goals are met. The plan will also support future broadband expansion and programs that will ensure the community maintains widespread Internet access, adoption, and use.

The top goals from the Ogemaw County plan are to:
1. Develop a digital literacy and low-cost broadband program
2. Develop a program supporting schools in new technology initiatives,
3. Host website and social media classes for local businesses, and
4. Identify, map, and validate broadband demand for further expansion

“The Technology Action Plan sets general community-wide broadband connectivity goals to work toward that will support economic development and residential quality of life,” said Mandi Chasey, director of business and economic services for Ogemaw County. “The plan gives the community step-by-step action items to meet the goals in a timely fashion. The possibilities are endless on where this project will take us.”

Meanwhile, in Howell, during Thursday’s Livingston County Economic Development meeting, Livingston County will be certified as a “Connected” community.

County representatives will release a Technology Action Plan that will include results of an assessment undertaken by the county.

The Livingston County Technology Action Plan contains specific recommendations of projects to expand broadband access, increase digital literacy, build awareness for the benefits of broadband, assist businesses with websites and social media, and increase the availability of online public services.

Being recognized as a certified Connected community provides Livingston County an avenue to discuss its success and pursue opportunities as an attractive, technologically advanced community.

The event will begin at 11:45 a.m. at Cleary University, 3750 W. Grand River Ave. in Howell.

The Connected Community Engagement Program, facilitated by Connect Michigan, supports the development of a comprehensive strategy for building a “connected” community by reviewing the technology landscape, developing regional partnerships, establishing local teams, and conducting a thorough community assessment of broadband access, adoption, and use.

As the designated entity for broadband mapping and planning in the state of Michigan, Connect Michigan is a public-private partnership between the Michigan Public Service Commission and Connected Nation to work with local governments, businesses, and citizens in the goal of increasing broadband service in the state’s underserved areas. For more information about what Connect Michigan is doing to accelerate technology in Michigan’s communities, visit http://www.connectmi.org.

Connected Nation developed the Connected Community Engagement Program to help guide a community through anassessment of its overall broadband and technology status. Connected certified communities have measurably demonstrated their proficiency for effective Access, Adoption, and Use of broadband supported technologies. Connected Nation through its partners provides a national platform for recognizing those communities that excel across these important benchmarks. Funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, this effort is part of the State Broadband Initiative. More at http://www.connectednation.org/get-connected.

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