- Target assets that will help you in the areas of your strategic goals.
- Identifying your best vertical assets can take some outside-of-the-box thinking and can increase community buy-in.
- The Broadband Infrastructure Office team can help you identify the best assets for your plan.
For your broadband planning committee, it is likely that goal setting and the assessment of your community’s needs and demand for broadband internet service will go hand in hand. You would probably not be reading this document if you did not already perceive a need and demand for broadband internet in your community; however, it is important to be able to measure demand and need so that your goals can be strategically targeted toward the areas with the most need and demand.
The Broadband Infrastructure Office’s technical assistance team can offer survey instruments and other tools to identify unserved and underserved citizens and businesses in the community. Three full-time staff members of the Broadband Infrastructure Office are assigned to the western, central and eastern counties in North Carolina, working to help communities expand access to broadband internet services.
Surveys and interviews can provide essential information, including the following:
- Neighborhoods and businesses served by broadband
- Affordability and willingness to pay
- Download and upload speeds
- Types of available internet service
- Levels of satisfaction with current services
- Reasons for non-usage among unconnected citizens and businesses
Internet speeds likely to be required for applications in the future, especially for businesses, hospitals, schools, nonprofits and other organizations.
The broadband planning committee can also work directly with community institutions – places of worship, government and public service agencies, nonprofits, libraries, businesses and schools – to increase both participation and awareness in the community.
A data map that shows demand and underserved areas in your community provides a powerful tool for your community. With demand and needs accurately mapped, you now have:
- A ready-made map of hundreds of potential customers to share with potential providers
- A map that presents opportunities to use existing community infrastructure (towers, bridges, utility poles and buildings) in an expansion of available broadband internet services, especially fixed wireless broadband
- The locations of important anchor tenants (schools, colleges, libraries, nonprofits, government offices, health care organizations, business centers, known future development projects and work-ready sites)
- The beginnings of a strategic, phased expansion of broadband internet services