Polk Broadband Plan - Page 85

POLK COUNTY BROADBAND PLAN CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS In a typical planning process, the goals that are set will require significant amounts of time and resources to achieve. Therefore, creative and strategic thinking is necessary in order to devise ways to achieve challenging goals while making optimal use of resources. To guide the implementation of goals, it is helpful to develop strategies. The strategies for the Polk County Broadband Plan were developed with input from a working session of the Broadband Polk Advisory Committee and via a worksheet on which goals could be prioritized and draft strategies submitted. Polk Vision, the Polk Vision’s Infrastructure Task Force, the Broadband Polk Advisory Committee and the public all provided input for the strategies. The strategies are accompanied by specific action items that will be undertaken by those who will implement the plan, in order to close identified current and future gaps in broadband coverage and to fulfill the vision and goals of the plan. The action items were drafted and reviewed by the Committee. The strategies and action items are presented in this final section. Table shows the relationships between specific goals, strategies, and action items. Strategies 1. Co-location: Advocate for communication, cooperation, and partnerships between utility providers, municipalities, transportation planning organizations and broadband providers; allowing resources, easements, rights-of-way and infrastructure to be shared when expanding or upgrading services to Anchor Institutions. 2. Competition: Increase affordability and improve services to Anchor Institutions by encouraging and advocating for robust broadband marketplace competition, including Next Generation Networks, Florida LambdaRail, and municipal fiber enterprises. 3. Anchor Institution Funding Sources: Ensure that Anchor Institutions are aware of, and utilizing, all available funding sources, including but not limited to e-rate programs, grants, tax incentives, and private financing. 4. Neighborhood Broadband Centers: Eliminate gaps in service, equity, and affordability by establishing broadband access points in community centers, churches, shopping centers, parks, schools, and other community-based organizations. Provide public-access computers where possible and increase capacity where such facilities already exist, such as in libraries. 5. Wi-Fi Zones: Encourage local municipalities and counties to provide public Wi-Fi, especially in central business districts and dense neighborhoods. 6. Technical Literacy and Training: Encourage providers and industry experts to conduct a variety of workshops and training exercises, ranging from basic computer skills to more advanced applications of broadband technology. 7. Residential Funding Sources: Encourage local governments and organizations such as CRAs and neighborhood groups to undertake projects that increase broadband availability, taking advantage of funding opportunities such as grants, tax incentives, and public-private partnerships. 8. Broadband Audits: Encourage annual evaluations of Anchor Institutions by broadband providers and/or industry experts to identify methods to increase efficiency and maximize resources. 9. Employee Suggestion Programs: Encourage Anchor Institutions to establish programs to reward employees who submit new ideas for utilizing broadband services efficiently, effectively, and for the benefit of Polk County businesses and residents. 10. Attract Broadband Intensive Industries: Partner with local municipalities, universities, and economic development agencies to attract high-tech industries, including research and development facilities that 83