SC receives $1.7M grant to look at broadband availability

By Live 5 News Staff email | Twitter

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) – South Carolina received a match grant of $1.7 million from the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration to generate a comprehensive map of the state's broadband availability Tuesday.

The research will be conducted through the Connect South Carolina program, a partnership between the state and Connected Nation to increase broadband internet access throughout rural South Carolina.

The grant is comprised of $1.2 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 the state.

The award provided through NTIA's State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program is a matching grant and part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"For our state to be remain competitive and thrive in an increasingly global marketplace, it is vital that people living in rural South Carolina have as much of a chance to get on the information highway as people living in our urban cores," said Governor Mark Sanford. "As we've long advocated, without high speed access, the economic growth opportunities of these regions may well be locked in at low speeds and for the way that this grant can help the public sector leverage the private sector's investment in rural broadband, I'd encourage Connect South Carolina in the task before them."

The data collected from the Connect South Carolina initiative will be displayed in the national broadband map, which will help inform policymakers and provide consumers with improved information on broadband Internet services available in the United States.

As part of the Connect South Carolina initiative, Connected Nation will be implementing a interactive mapping tool for viewing, analyzing and validating broadband data. Called BroadbandStat, the interactive mapping platform is a multi-functional, user-friendly way for local leaders, policymakers, consumers and technology providers to devise a plan for the expansion and adoption of broadband.

BroadbandStat allows a user to build and evaluate broadband expansion scenarios using a wealth of data, including education and population demographics, current broadband speeds and availability and research about the barriers to adoption.

The tool also provides an instant feedback mechanism for consumers to validate broadband data electronically or via phone.

"We are pleased to be working with the state to help create a comprehensive broadband map of South Carolina," said Brian R. Mefford, Connected Nation's chief executive officer.

©2009 WCSC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.