Berkeley Chamber of Commerce News

Berkeley County Becomes First Certified Connected County in the Lowcountry

Posted by Berkeley Chamber of Commerce on June 26, 2015 in Announcements , Press Releases
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Berkeley County receives Connected community certification, releases Technology Action Plan

Berkeley County, SC – Today, Connect South Carolina, joined by Berkeley County Community Partners, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, and Home Telecom, announced Berkeley County’s certified Connected community status and released its Technology Action Plan. It is the first county in the Lowcountry and the eighth certified Connected community in South Carolina.

Berkeley County Becomes First Certified Connected County in the Lowcountry“One of the goals in completing this assessment has been to identify areas of the county where the digital divide still exists,” shared Donna Worden, community champion and Director of the Berkeley County Library System. “As we undertake the projects in the county’s recommended Technology Action Plan, community partners will join together to extend broadband throughout the county and increase access to digital literacy resources.”

Berkeley County has been working with Connect South Carolina since February 2013 on the Connected Community Engagement Program. This initiative assesses the local broadband landscape, identifies connectivity gaps, and establishes technology-driven goals and objectives to increase broadband access, adoption, and use for families, organizations, and businesses throughout the community.

“Broadband is no longer a luxury, it is essential in our daily lives,” said FCC Commissioner and Charleston native Mignon Clyburn. “Broadband is a gateway through which many Lowcountry residents and businesses obtain critical information, find jobs, stay connected with teachers and healthcare providers, and keep up-to-date with family members and friends. We all benefit when everyone is connected.” Commissioner Clyburn shared her remarks on a video that can be seen HERE.

William S. Helmly, President and COO of Home Telecom added, “I am pleased Home Telecom plays a key role in Berkeley County’s achieving 98% of access to broadband service. Not only do we provide access to broadband in some of the most rural areas of Berkeley County but also have the privilege to provide fiber access to the first gigabit community in the state of South Carolina. As Berkeley County continues to grow and prosper in the area of technology, Home Telecom will be among those leading the way.”

Connect South Carolina Executive Director Jim Stritzinger said, “Berkeley County citizens did a remarkable job working together to bring this program to reality. I have no doubt they will continue to use the recommendations in the Technology Action Plan to further guide their path to a bright broadband future because they have the resources and motivation to make this work. We at Connect South Carolina and Connected Nation look forward to sharing their success and lessons learned.”

Connected certification affords a community an avenue to discuss its success and pursue opportunities as a recognized technologically advanced community. The Berkeley County Technology Action Plan released today contains recommended projects and action items which include improving and enhancing educational opportunities for residents through digital learning, completing a vertical assets inventory, promoting telemedicine in remote areas, and advancing the use of a multipurpose mobile technology center, among others.  The certification is an important milestone as the team now phases into implementing its newly established Technology Action Plan.

The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce is planning an event to celebrate this important milestone. Please email berkeley@bcoc.com for more information. For questions about the Connected Community Engagement Program in South Carolina, please contact info@connectsc.org.

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About Connect South Carolina: Connect South Carolina is leading the effort to increase high-speed Internet access, adoption, and use to ensure South Carolina’s competitiveness in the connected global economy of the twenty-first century. Connect South Carolina is a public-private partnership with IT-oLogy and other organizations that works with all broadband providers to create South Carolina’s first interactive map of broadband coverage. This work serves as a foundation for addressing remaining service gaps while also engaging state, regional, and local leaders in workforce development activities designed to bridge South Carolina’s digital divide. For maps, research, or to get involved with efforts in your community, please visit: www.ConnectSC.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Connected Nation developed the Connected Community Engagement Program to help guide a community through an assessment of its overall broadband and technology status. Connected certified communities have measurably demonstrated their proficiency for effective access, adoption, and use of broadband-supported technologies. Connected Nation, through its partners, provides a national platform for recognizing those communities that excel across these important benchmarks. http://www.connectmycommunity.org

Berkeley County Becomes First Certified Connected County in the Lowcountry