OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich., June 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Many Ottawa County residents lack access to affordable and reliable broadband Internet service and the digital literacy skills needed to succeed in today's world and tomorrow's future. The Ottawa County Data Collection Steering Committee, formed by the County's Planning and Performance Improvement Department, has been tasked with the collection of countywide Internet-accessibility information that will be used to inform decision-making to effectively address existing gaps in digital inclusion. The Committee is composed of representatives from the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District, Lakeshore Advantage, Spectrum Health, GVSU, Farm Bureau, Holland BPW, local units of government, and several other key individuals.
To obtain that data, the Ottawa County Data Collection Steering Committee contracted with Merit Network, Inc., and is seeking county-wide input from the residents, in the form of a survey. This survey was developed by Merit Network, in partnership with the Quello Center at Michigan State University, to provide accurate data regarding which properties have Internet access, the affordability of that access for residents with coverage and the digital literacy skills of county residents. Information gathered will only be used to support broadband Internet expansion efforts. The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners urges residents to participate in this survey to help measure broadband access.
Mike Rohwer, CIO and Assistant Superintendent of the OAISD said: "Socrates, among others, is ascribed to have said, "Wisdom is knowing what you do not know." In many respects this guides the first phase of the Ottawa County Digital Inclusion Strategy as we seek out a collective understanding of the barriers that currently inhibit digital inclusivity throughout Ottawa County – whether they be technical, economic, or otherwise. This initiative truly requires the wisdom of the crowds. It is our hope that the partnership between local leaders, Merit, and the residents of Ottawa County can lay the groundwork to overcome all hurdles with the goal of meeting both current and future needs within our region."
The survey is being conducted through a partnership with the Michigan Moonshot initiative, which aims to bridge the digital divide in Michigan. Accurate, unbiased data will assist in drawing necessary state and federal funds to the community. Residents are being asked to visit MichiganMoonshot.org/Ottawa to complete the brief survey, whether they pay for Internet access at their property or not.
The data collection runs from June 7 - September 17, 2021.
ABOUT THE OTTAWA COUNTY DIGITAL INCLUSION STRATEGY: Ottawa County's 4-Phase Digital Inclusion Strategy is designed to ensure all county residents have access to affordable and reliable broadband Internet service, including necessary Internet-enabled equipment and the digital literacy skills needed to succeed in today's world and tomorrow's future. Phase 1 of the comprehensive Strategy involves the collection of countywide Internet-accessibility data that will be used to inform the County's decision-making to effectively address existing gaps in digital inclusion. Learn more at www.miottawa.org/broadband
ABOUT THE MICHIGAN MOONSHOT: The Michigan Moonshot is a collective call to action which aims to bridge the digital divide in Michigan. Stakeholders include Merit Network, the nation's longest-running research and education network, the Quello Center at Michigan State University and M-Lab, the largest open Internet measurement platform in the world. Learn more about the Michigan Moonshot at Merit.edu/Moonshot.
Paul Sachs, Director
Planning and Performance Improvement
For more information:
SOURCE Merit Network