Thirty-nine percent of rural Americans lack affordable, high-speed broadband, making the digital divide one of the largest demographic gaps in the country. Connectivity is necessary in today’s digital world. Economic opportunity, educational advancement, health, and safety are all tied to availability of high-speed internet access. Just as electricity transformed rural America in the 20th century, high-speed broadband is poised to deliver similar economic transformation in the 21st century economy.
What will it take to bring broadband to all members of your community that is both affordable and high-speed? While there is a promise of significant federal funding, rural communities will need to proactively build a plan that represents the best interests of their communities and position themselves to become attractive for funders and internet service providers.
In this webinar, listeners hear from Marc McCarty, lead of the Broadband Initiative Steering Committee for the University of Missouri System that has developed a playbook and detailed implementation guide for rural communities looking to bring affordable, high-speed broadband to their community. The Committee’s Broadband Resource Rail is a coordinated effort to encourage the build of reliable, high-speed internet infrastructure and use of broadband-based applications to improve lives around three challenges of economic opportunity, educational access, and health and well-being. Their Digitally Connected Community Guide, an online course and resource library available through MU Extension, empowers rural communities through a proven strategy and provides the resources needed to move a community towards digital connectivity. (www.mobroadband.org)
Next, Heather Hampton-Knodle and Valerie Belusko, both key leaders from Montgomery County, Illinois, share their progress on their community-centric action plan for broadband in partnership with Wisper Internet, an ISP, headquartered in Southern Illinois. Wisper is the second-largest winner in the FCC’s Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) and is required to use the $220.3 million award to expand internet service in FCC designated areas – most of which are in rural Missouri. Then, joining from Wisper is Shannon Shores, Interim COO and Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Watch this webinar to learn how digital connectivity infrastructure projects are being leveraged to improve healthcare for our rural communities from our local leaders making this change happen.
About BioSTL's Rural Health Webinar Series
BioSTL is planning an in-person Rural Health Symposium in 2021 that focuses on the major challenges rural communities face: healthcare access and affordability, healthcare workforce and hospital capacity, affordable broadband access and SDoH (Social Determinants of Health) unique to rural communities. The webinar series will build momentum leading up to the Symposium by convening key constituencies to share success models to improve health and economic vitality.
Since 2001, BioSTL has laid the foundation for St. Louis' innovation economy with a comprehensive set of transformational programs that advance St. Louis’ leadership in solving important world challenges in agriculture, medicine, health care, and other technology areas. BioSTL has introduced nationally-acclaimed initiatives in startup creation and investment (BioGenerator), strategic business attraction (GlobalSTL), physical environment (including the Cortex Innovation District and BioGenerator Labs), entrepreneur support (BioSTL Fundamentals), seed and venture capital, a diverse and inclusive workforce, and public policy. Find us online at biostl.org and follow us on twitter @BioSTL.