Broadband Buzz Blog
Become a regular reader of the Broadband Buzz blog. Let MoBroadbandNow help you to stay informed about the MoBroadbandNow initiative and the latest developments with Missouri's broadband infrastructure.
Statewide and regional Maximum Advertised Download Speed maps are now posted on the MoBroadbandNow website. These maps, like the High Speed Availability maps, are designed to give consumers an idea of what speeds they can expect to have access to given the provider data available to MoBroadbandNow. However, unlike the High Speed Availability maps, this series displays only the download speeds that providers are able to offer consumers and does not group multiple speeds into categories. As a result, a wide range of speed tiers are displayed, from less than or equal to 200 kilobits per second (yellow) to greater than or equal to 1 gigabit per second (blue).
These maps display both wired and wireless Broadband providers. Data are current as of December 31, 2012.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that up to $21 million in funding may be available through the Community Connect Grant program. The Community Connect Grant Program brings broadband service to the most underserved rural communities in the country — communities where broadband service is not currently available and can have a positive impact on local quality of life. USDA has invested $122 million in Community Connect Grants since the program began, including in four projects in Missouri.
Applications must be submitted by July 11, 2013.
A new series of “Broadband Briefs” published by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) examines broadband trends nationally. The first brief, “US Broadband Availability: June 2010-June 2012,” looks at current availability, overall changes in availability, and the states with the greatest access to broadband. The second brief, “Broadband Availability Beyond the Rural/Urban Divide,” looks at communities in five categories on the rural-urban continuum and finds that the rural/urban divide in broadband access is more complex than previously understood.
Key findings from the reports include:
- Between June 2010 and June 2012, broadband availability increased at all speed tiers, with the greatest increases at the highest speed tiers
- Wireless access has increased dramatically, but speeds remain lower than for wired access
- More urbanized states have the most broadband access — 13 of the 15 most urbanized states overlap with the 15 states with the most broadband access
- There is a rural-urban divide in access and the divide becomes more pronounced at higher speed tiers
- Central cities and suburbs have the highest rates of broadband availability, while very rural communities (11 residents per square mile) have the least.
Agriculture is high-tech and information dependent industry. In a MoBroadbandNow survey of Future Farmers of America, 91 percent said that it was at least somewhat important (with 41 percent saying it was very important) that all Missouri farming operations have high-speed Internet service. In a MoBroadbandNow agriculture needs assessment survey, the most commonly reported uses for broadband in farming operations were getting general news and weather information, getting market and commodity information, banking online, and connecting to agricultural or farming association/cooperative websites.
New apps for smart phones and tablets are being developed to support precision agriculture and improve safety. University of Missouri researchers recently developed an app called the Vehicle Rollover Prevention Education Training Emergency Reporting System (or VRPETERS for short), which can detect a tractor rollover and send the location and an emergency response notification. Tractor rollovers are the leading cause of on-the-job death among farmers.
A number of other applications are on the market, which allow farmers to check weather and market data, and collect and geo-reference data related to farming operations.
To learn more about how the Missouri’s agricultural community is using broadband in farming applications and potential benefits, see these reports on Broadband Access, Usage, and Potential on Missouri’s Farms and in Rural Communities and the Benefits of Expanded Broadband for Missouri’s Farms and Agribusiness.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently published the Broadband Adoption Toolkit, a resource focused on strategies for “helping to close the digital divide” and increasing broadband adoption among the nearly one-third of the Americans who do not have a broadband connection at home.
The toolkit examines adoption activities in four areas, using case study examples focused around the barries of access and availability, cost, perception, relevance, and skills. The four areas are:
- Awareness and outreach
- Home computers
- Training planning and delivery
- Curriculum and relevant content
NTIA also held two webinars highlighting broadband adoption case studies from around the country. Archived versions of the webinars are linked below:
Every six months, MoBroadbandNow publishes new speed and service maps based on data collected from over 110 participating Internet Service Providers across the state. Maps are published for both the state and regional levels. Service maps show the number of providers serving an area in shades of blue (darker illustrates more providers, while lighter illustrates fewer), while high speed maps show where service is available at speeds of greater than 3mpbs download/1.5mpbs upload (blue), less than 3mpbs download/1.5mbps upload (yellow) and where speed data is unavailable (red). The maps include data from both wired and wireless providers.
MoBroadbandNow’s mapping efforts also include an Interactive Mapping tool, which allows you to enter your address and identify providers in your area, as well as to add layers, including service availability and technology type.
To learn more about MoBroadbandNow’s mapping and data collection or, if you are an ISP that is not currently participating, to get involved, visit our FAQ page.
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Moderator and Presenter: Ron Emerson, Global Director of Healthcare, Polycom
Conference Speakers Include:
- Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon are scheduled to attend
- Curtis Lowery, MD, Angels Network in Arkansas – KEYNOTE SPEAKER
- Jon Linkous, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Telemedicine Association
- Ed Simcox, Director, AT&T ForHealth Solutions and Telehealth Strategy
- Matthew Wenzel, Chief Executive Officer, Headrick Medical Center, St. Luke’s Health System
- Thomas Hale, MD, Executive Medical Director, Mercy Telehealth Services
- Kathy Chorba, Executive Director, California Telehealth Network
- Rachel Mutrux, Executive Director, Missouri Telehealth Network
- Pat Schou, Executive Director, Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network
Live telemedicine presentations and demonstrations from Microsoft, InTouch and others.
USDA Rural Development’s Community Connect Grant program is designed to help connect the most underserved rural communities in the country. To help better meet this goal, USDA has announced new rules for the program, which include allowing areas that are not census designated places or defined in a commercial atlas (often the most rural) to apply for funding. Other changes include:
- A simplified application process
- More flexibility in resources and in-kind contributions that can be used to meet the match requirement
- Priority in USDA application evaluation to persistent poverty counties, communities experiencing population loss, and the most rural areas of the country.
To learn more about Community Connect and the new program rules, click here.
If you received a MoBroadbandNow Survey on Residential Broadband in the mail, please take 10-15 minutes to complete it and return it by Friday, May 10. Data collected through the survey is important to developing a better understanding of broadband access and adoption across the state.
Responses to the survey will remain anonymous and will only be reported as part of a larger group. Individuals age 18 or older are asked to complete the survey. Not everyone will receive a survey (surveys were mailed to a random sample of 52,915 households), but those who do should fill it out as accurately as possible and return it by the deadline.
Questions about the survey should be submitted via e-mail at email@example.com.
Regional Technology Planning Teams (RTPT) have been reconvening around the state this week — from Maryville to Dexter and in between — to get started on the second round of regional broadband planning activities.
To learn more about broadband planning activities in your region, look at the Regional Planning section of the website, which has each region’s Broadband Availability and Adoption Strategic Report, as well as individual pages for each RTPT.
And check the Broadband Buzz blog for updates on regional planning events and activities over the upcoming months. Also be sure to look over our new Frequently Asked Questions page for more infomation and answers to your broadband questions!
MoBroadbandNow is conducting a survey of broadband access, adoption, and usage across the state. Surveys were mailed to 52,915 randomly selected households in all 114 counties and the city of St. Louis.
The survey questionnaire will take 10-15 minutes to complete. Responses to the survey will remain anonymous and will only be reported as part of a larger group. Individuals age 18 or older are asked to complete the survey and return it by Friday, May 10. Not everyone will receive a survey, but those who do should fill it out as accurately as possible and return it by the deadline.
Data collection is a central component of the MoBroadbandNow effort, and your responses will help us create an accurate picture of Internet and broadband access, adoption, and use in Missouri. Reports from the 2011 residential survey can be found here.
Questions about the survey should be submitted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Missouri Senate passed unanimously (34-0) Senate Bill 262, relating to telemedicine services. The legislation is now awaiting consideration in the Missouri House. The bill sponsored by Senator S. Kiki Curls would require insurance companies cover medical services that are offered electronically if the insurance plan covers the same procedure as an in-person service. The telemedicine parity bill would ensure that electronic or online treatment or services would not be subject to a higher deductible or co-pay. For more information, see SB 262 language or read and listen to MissouriNet coverage.
Governor Jay Nixon signed an agreement creating WGU Missouri, a new state-based online university offering 50 high-quality degree programs. He first announced his intent to expand higher education opportunities at the 2013 State of the State Address. The all online program is affordable at $6,000 a year; allowing more Missourians to complete their education and move up the career ladder. WGU Missouri is part of the governor’s strategy to increase post-secondary degrees and certificates from 37 to 60 percent. Prospective students can get more information and enroll here.
- 97% of all Missourians have access to broadband at 3 megabits per second (download) and 768 kilobits per second (upload)
- 90% of rural Missourians have access to broadband
- 82% of all Missourians have access to up to three wireline (DSL, Fiber or Cable) broadband providers
- Nearly half of all Missourians have access to up to five wireless (Fixed or Cellular) broadband providers
In 2009, Governor Nixon set the goal that at least 95% of Missourians should have broadband access by the end of 2014. MoBroadbandNow is excited that we have achieved this milestone ahead of schedule and are committed to reaching more homes and businesses that remain underserved. MoBroadbandNow has 111 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) participating in the public-private initiative. We remain focused on availability, adoption, speed, choice, affordability and sustainability.
A December 2012 TechNet report — “TechNet’s 2012 State Broadband Index” — ranks states on broadband based on three factors: adoption (households subscribing to broadband), network speeds, and economic structure (jobs in the state in information and communication technology industries and apps development).
Missouri is one of six states focused on as an in-depth “illustrative example” of states working to improve broadband. The case study highlights MoBroadbandNow’s data collection, mapping and regional planning efforts, as well as efforts to encourage broadband use across sectors. It also mentions other initiatives and projects underway, as well as Missouri’s highly skilled workforce. The case study shows that while Missouri still has challenges (overall, the state is ranked 32nd on the index, receiving its lowest score on network speeds), Missouri is becoming an innovative leader in broadband deployment.
This report is the second time MoBroadbandNow has been featured in a national publication — in March 2012, MoBroadbandNow‘s efforts were highlighted in a Governing Magazine article on State Broadband Initiatives.