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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