What is Broadband?
Essentially, broadband means high-speed internet access. When a computer connects to the internet, there are different ways it can connect—for example, through a phone line, a cable TV connection, or a satellite dish. Different types of connections have different speeds. Broadband refers to connections that can transfer data more quickly than “dial-up” connections. Having access to a broadband connection makes a lot of things possible: from online classes and research for school, to managing your bank accounts via the internet, to recreational things like online movies and gaming.
But broadband isn’t just about the internet. High-capacity broadband allows colleges and universities to share information for research projects. Broadband networks help emergency responders (fire, police, ambulances) to get to emergency victims more quickly. Broadband allows hospitals to share information about patients so that multiple doctors can coordinate to provide the best care. These are just a few examples. From health care to education, public safety to commerce, broadband networks have the potential to dramatically change, enhance, and transform the way we live, work, and play.
Why is Broadband Important?
Throughout history, infrastructure networks have been important for our society. In the 19th century, the railroads revolutionized America’s economy and culture. In the 20th century, air travel and the interstate highway system brought new changes. At the same time, our society was changed by new communication infrastructure: telephones, radio, television, and in the 1990s, the internet.
The great infrastructure network of the 21st century is broadband. Communities and regions that develop their broadband infrastructure will have better, faster access to new ideas, innovations, and technologies. Being connected means having more and better jobs, a stronger educational system, a more efficient government, more effective public safety and health care providers, and a higher quality of life. Planning now to ensure that Polk County’s future broadband infrastructure needs will be met is essential for diversified economic development and prosperity within the County.
The Polk Broadband Plan
Broadband Polk is a collaborative effort involving Polk County citizens, business leaders, civic organizations, non-profits, educational institutions, economic development professionals, high tech experts, and key representatives from various segments of the local economy. Facilitated cooperatively by Polk Vision and the Central Florida Regional Planning Council (CFRPC), the Broadband Polk Advisory Committee is working to raise awareness of the importance of robust broadband infrastructure in the 21st century economy and to develop a comprehensive broadband plan to address the current and future broadband needs for Polk County.
Public Service Announcement
As a cooperative effort between the CFRPC, Polk Vision, and Polk Government Television, a PSA video has been developed to raise awareness of the broadband planning effort. Click below to watch the PSA.
Broadband Polk’s vision is to facilitate increased opportunity, innovation, and efficiency by ensuring that every individual, corporation, non-profit, visitor, government entity, and community partner in Polk County has access to affordable high-speed internet service.
Anchor Institutions (including energy providers) will maximize utilization of broadband services and technologies in order to increase efficiency, maximize resources, and provide the best services possible to the businesses and residents of Polk County.
Anchor Institutions such as schools, hospitals, libraries, and government buildings will have affordable access to a minimum of 1 gigabit per second broadband services.
Polk County will have the fastest, most affordable, and most accessible mobile networks possible.
205,000 households (79% of households) in Polk County will have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second.
Every resident of Polk County will have access to affordable high-speed internet services and the skills to utilize it, if they choose.
Every business and non-profit in Polk County will have access to affordable high-speed internet services and the skills to utilize it, if they choose.
In May 2012, Broadband Polk conducted a phone survey of households and businesses regarding broadband usage. A summary of the survey results can be downloaded here: Survey Results.
Maps can be downloaded in in PDF format.
Oct. 27, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – Second Advisory Committee Meeting. Agenda
August 23, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – Initial Think Tank Meeting. Agenda