RESOLVE the Digital Divide!

Broadband is the crucial , cross-cutting infrastructure needed for advancing inclusive economic recovery, development, and competitiveness…

BROADBAND is as crucial to economic performance as critical to our communities, citizens, and enterprises as water, sewer, and transportation infrastructure. To hasten participation and opportunity in today’s marketplace, our communities must be have the infrastructure, affordability, capability, and capacity to successfully engage in the digital community and connect both locally and globally…

Why Now?

Much of our region stands without adequate broadband infrastructure, and we are at an essential crossroads. The classroom, the job site, and the marketplace are online — accelerated more so by recent months’ pandemic response. We must rethink and revisit how we approach economic recovery and provide information to correct the maps and to demonstrate our community and market demands!

It is essential that we have broadband just to participate… it is critical both for our rural region’s economic recovery — and to create realistic opportunity to engage in and compete within constantly fluctuating markets.

We have been without for too long, and it is hurting our citizens, our students, our workers, and our businesses — and it threatens the very survival of our communities and our economies.  We need investments and efforts, quickly, with more accurate broadband mapping, removal of barriers for any entity willing to participate in broadband infrastructure investment, and affordable adoption/service opportunities so this becomes a springboard for our long-term economic recovery, resiliency, and opportunity. To survive, to recover, and to compete:

Broadband For Everyone in Louisiana

Broadband Initiative Targeting Strategy

The Louisiana Association of Planning & Development Districts, including Kisatchie-Delta, is working with LDOTD and the BEL Commission to launch a broadband initiative for mapping and for public strategies to support private/P3 provider expansions and/or development.

Our region is recruiting a Broadband Discovery Working Group… so we both invite grassroots leadership to inform the process and help champion efforts… and we incorporate GIS, local inputs, and the crowdsourcing results into combined mapping sources with LDOTD to assist the efforts to compete for infrastructure investments and enabling AFFORDABLE BROADBAND. This is truly a multi-agency initiative and will require “all hands” to make strides in cross the rural broadband divide!

CALL FOR ACTION! JOIN OUR CROWD!

Crowdsource part of the solution!

Take the broadband speedtest from your desktop, laptop, and cell phone at home in less than a minute… Visit the Delta Regional Authority’s broadband speedtest and help your community identify the unserved and underserved!

TAKE THE SPEEDTEST with this LINK (below):

dra.gov/research/broadband-mapping/#speedtest

Through an innovative online crowd-sourcing platform, DRA has launched this year-long effort to gauge broadband accessibility throughout its eight-state region. DRA needs as many residents as possible to take this internet speed test to develop an accurate representation of availability. Let’s help our communities and parishes!

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE BROADBAND ACCESS AT HOME, you can STILL help… Go to the “DRA speedtest” site, and log in your address to register the lack of opportunity!

 

Resilient Louisiana Commission and Rural Revitalization

Task Force meetings of the Resilient Louisiana Commission in 2020 included calls for action and a broadband white paper. This includes formation of an integrated working group to immediately begin compilation of a broadband mapping “fabric” in tactical preparation for pursuit of infrastructure funding — and real solutions for broadband for everyone. Agencies to include are envisioned as Louisiana Economic Development (research/ intelligence), the Department of Transportation and Development, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the Louisiana Division of Administration , the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and the Louisiana Office of Public Health.

Louisiana Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity…

New opportunities and new tools… Check out this link from a newly created office to help Louisiana cross the divide!

https://www.doa.la.gov/doa/comm/broadband-development-and-connectivity

1. Broadband Mapping…more accurately – NOW. Waiting worsens the divide and further deepens the challenges.

The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act was signed into U.S. law March 23, 2020 calling for national collection of mapping layers and improve provider data collection, so as to promote the ability of un and underserved community to pursue funding and solutions in obtaining minimum, modern broadband in speeds of 25/3; those localities and states with enhanced mapping can speed access to and investment in broadband infrastructure, services, and adoption. Cenla needs broadband now more than ever.

The States with mapping could begin investing now… the states with accurate mapping will accelerate public-private partnerships to advance infrastructure and services, conceivably BEFORE the Federal Communications Commission begins to update another report…

The Federal Communications Commission has repeatedly stated in its reports to Congress, including the report released May 29, 2019: “we find, for a second consecutive year, that advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis.” FOR THOSE OF US LIVING IN THE GAP, WE FIND THIS TO BE AN ABSURD CLAIM WHILE SO MANY HOUSEHOLDS AND BUSINESSES CONTINUE TO BE UNSERVED AND UNDERSERVED. [A US Telecom pilot mapping project found more than 445,000 rural homes in 2 pilot-area states to currently be mapped incorrectly — and not to be served with adequate broadband.]

2. Broadband Connections – the infrastructure/systems to deliver high-speed Internet access.Target the unserved, underserved, and unaffordable areas first.

Broadband includes several high-speed transmission technologies such as the fiber, cable modem, digital subscriber line, the newer technology or broadband over powerlines, and wireless (mobile) or satellite. The minimum “high-speed” definition is a bandwidth (transmission speed) of 25 Megabits per second (MBps) download and 3 Mbps upload.

3. Broadband Adoption. Break down the barriers and advance opportunities for participation by all communities for everyone in Louisiana.

Adoption refers to use (or lack thereof). Cost to consumer-users, digital literacy, purpose, availability of (affordable) equipment to access services, and convenience all affect potential customers in adopting/using the technology. This matters, as services require the ability of consumers to collectively provide sufficient financial resources for providers to maintain the delivery of high-speed broadband. Adequate broadband adoption relies on daily, convenient access to the Internet at speeds, quality, and capacity that consumers can afford to fully participate in online offering, with devices, skills, secure network(s), and confidence to incorporate into daily lives, with the completion of common tasks.

The barriers need to be removed. The technical data, mapping, infrastructure, and opportunity for affordable service, and digital support/adoption activities need to be redressed now.

Email shelia@kdelta.org if you have ideas or interests that can contribute toward more accurate mapping or improving broadband infrastructure and affordable service for our region and its communities.