Successful Arkansas and California broadband adoption projects

The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provided $250 million to schools, libraries, health care providers, and other community organizations to improve broadband access and adoption.

Among the many successful BTOP-funded programs were Connect Arkansas and the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC) – both of which were featured in NTIA’s BTOP Quarterly Program Status Report last week.

According to the report, Connect Arkansas, “... used BTOP funding to offer classes in 144 high schools and train more than 6,000 people, including 2,000 students and 4,000 healthcare professionals.”

The program sought to improve broadband access and usage among all socioeconomic classes around the state. But it also pinpointed several cohorts:“In collaboration with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the project provided a broadband-based health awareness campaign and hands-on training to more than 4,000 healthcare professionals.

“The project also offered classes in 144 high schools that taught 2,108 students how to leverage the Internet to support entrepreneurial activities.” In all, the project exceeded its goals. “Connect Arkansas,” said the report, “originally proposed to train 2,600 people, but it eventually trained more than 6,100.”

On the West Coast, the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC) used BTOP funding to “provide training in digital literacy, work force development, and lifelong learning, resulting in decreased dropout rates, 9,000 household broadband subscribers, and students earning more than 1,100 certifications in Microsoft Office programs.”

FCCC works with two-year community colleges to give “computer training, laptops, and wireless cards for low-income and minority students enrolled in the Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program.”

Speed Matters supports these and other efforts to improve broadband access and skills.

BTOP Quarterly Program Status Report (NTIA, Oct. 3, 2014)