Technology

Regional Opportunity Initiatives launches initiative to advance internet connectivity

From Regional Opportunity Initiatives:

Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) has launched a regional digital inclusion planning effort to advance broadband and connectivity across the Indiana Uplands region. Every analysis conducted by ROI in the last five years has indicated that addressing broadband and connectivity is essential to the upward trajectory of the Indiana Uplands region. The Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction plans developed by stakeholders in all eleven Uplands counties — Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, and Washington — identified digital access as critical to economic growth and community development. The 2019 Uplands Regional Housing Study called out broadband as a crucial determinant for achieving regional goals.

While progress has been made across the region through initiatives like Indiana’s Next Level Connections Initiative, geographies across the region suffer from limited access and quality. ROI’s Digital Inclusion Initiative is intended to help identify the information necessary for counties, communities, and the region to accelerate efforts to achieve the digital resources, sometimes referred to as digital capital, necessary for regional prosperity and economic
competitiveness.

“There is no better time to build a plan for a more digitally inclusive region. During this year’s pandemic, we’ve seen demand dramatically increase for e-learning, remote work, telehealth, internet reliability, and access to devices, said ROI Vice President of Economic and Community Development Lisa Abbott. “We know that digital access and usage will continue to be crucial to the healthy functioning of our region moving forward.”

ROI has partnered with the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) to study and evaluate the region’s digital infrastructure, technology availability, and digital literacy in the Indiana Uplands. Working in collaboration with each of the region’s 11 counties, ROI and PCRD will create a comprehensive regional digital inclusion strategy that will identify strategies and tools to develop digital resiliency in the Uplands region. The digital inclusion plan will outline ways to improve infrastructure, internet speed, connectivity, access to devices, and digital
literacy for each county in the region.

A vital component of this study is a Digital Capital Survey to assess home internet speed, computing devices, and how individuals use their digital devices. “We encourage Indiana Uplands residents in every county to complete this survey,” added Abbott. “By collecting data on how our residents use digital devices, we will be able to accurately assess the true digital capital of our communities and advance prosperity across the Indiana Uplands region.”

The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and will be open through Monday, November 16, 2020. It can be accessed via http://bit.ly/DCapSurvey

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

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