- Matt Ennis of Library Journal provides coverage of the hearing.
In 2010, as part of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), NTIA awarded more than $200 million in matching grants to establish or upgrade public computer centers (PCCs) throughout the United States. More than 2,000 of those centers are operated by public libraries, from Maine to Arizona. These grants complement the $3.4 billion in infrastructure investments that have allowed BTOP grant recipients to connect more than 1,300 libraries nationally with ultra-fast broadband, providing a significant down-payment on President Obama’s ConnectED initiative.
…[NTIA recently released the] first three of 15 PCC and broadband adoption case studies. These focus on the impact of grants in Delaware, Texas and Michigan.
The case studies were conducted for NTIA by an independent research firm, ASR Analytics, which analyzed the impact these PCCs are having in their local communities.
What kinds of impact are these expanded libraries having in their communities? The case studies, based on site visits, interviews, and publicly available data from the awardees’ quarterly reports to NTIA, tell a story of increased demand for library services that have helped the country continue to turn the corner on the economic recovery. The libraries are meeting an urgent need by giving people access to information and job skills they need to be competitive in a 21st century workplace.
All of the ASR Analytics case studies report on five key impact areas of broadband adoption and use: Workforce and Economic Development; Education and Training; Healthcare; Quality of Life/Civic Engagement; and Digital Literacy. In addition to quantitative summaries of relevant data on training and participation in BTOP activities, the studies are extensively documented and include research references.
The remaining reports and case studies will be released in the months to come. Together they will provide the research and policy communities with critical information, as we continue to learn and apply the lessons of BTOP.
Read the Complete Blog Post