CONTACT: Charles R. McClure

(850) 645-5683


By Bob Branciforte

July 2010




The Information Use Management & Policy Institute (Information
Institute) at The Florida State University has received an award to
evaluate the broadband needs of anchor institutions in 14 rural counties
of northern Florida. The project is being done in conjunction with the
$30 million North Florida Broadband Authority (NFBA) Middle Mile Project
and will run through May, 2011. 


Anchor institutions are nonprofit organizations (e.g. libraries,
schools, hospitals, governments), usually permanent in location and
essential to local economies as employers. The Information Institute
will seek to determine how anchor institutions are currently using
broadband technology in the north Florida state-designated Rural Areas
of Critical Economic Concern (RACEC); it will also study the factors
that may influence anchor institutions in their decisions to adopt the
high-speed broadband services that will available through the work of
the Middle Mile Project.


A "middle mile" network is a broadband infrastructure that connects
"last mile" providers (Internet Service Providers) with the "Internet
backbone," the main trunk of information super highway data routes and
devices that carry data around the world. The NFBA is a government
entity working to extend the Internet backbone into economically
challenged rural areas of northern Florida with a middle mile network. A
strong, high-capacity broadband infrastructure is essential to local
last-mile providers who serve public and private sector interests, as
well as to drawing innovative businesses to rural areas and creating
high-wage, high-value jobs.


In developing an understanding of the use of broadband technology by
anchor institutions in the RACEC areas of northern Florida, the
Information Institute will:

* conduct a needs assessment of their existing and future broadband uses
and obtain baseline data; 

* produce diagnostics that describe their existing broadband networks
and determine potential network improvements, and

*  provide benchmarks for data points such as workstation-level
bandwidth, bandwidth costs, and the situational factors that impact
their decisions to obtain or increase bandwidth capacity.


"Our research is important to the overall success of the NFBA project.
It will inform the deployment and configuration of the middle mile
network, position the NFBA to document their success based on intended
outcomes, and assist in obtaining additional funds for broadband and
economic development in the region," Charles R. McClure, Information
Institute director and principle investigator for the project, said. "It
will also contribute to the successful use of broadband by the area
anchor institutions and insure that they receive and provide
high-quality, up-to-date services."

The Information Use Management & Policy Institute <>
is located at the School of Library & Information Studies
<>  of the College of Communication & Information
<>  at The Florida State University
<> . The North Florida Broadband Authority
<>  has obtained funding for the Middle Mile
Project from the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration <>  as part of the Broadband
Technology Opportunity Program <> .




Bob Branciforte, MLIS

Creative Director

College of Communication & Information

The Florida State University


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