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Video: Building the nation’s fastest broadband network

Date Posted: Monday, December 19th, 2016
Categories:  Former Governor Jack Markell (2009-2017) Office of the Governor

Creating a Stronger, More Prosperous Delaware

Dover, DE – Recognizing the importance of high speed broadband networks to drive economic competitiveness, improve educational opportunity, and strengthen quality of life for Delawareans, the Department of Technology and Information (DTI) is taking steps to maintain Delaware’s position as the nation’s leading state for high-speed broadband networks.

Following a successful first round of Broadband Grant funding in 2014 and 2015 for Internet Services Providers (ISPs) to extend high speed broadband services to their customers, particularly in rural underserved areas, DTI is reviewing applications received for a second round of grant funding for three pilot projects to evaluate the success and assess the viability for ISPs to extend wireless broadband services into rural communities around Seaford and Marydel and a municipal Wi-Fi network in Rehoboth. DTI anticipates a subsequent third round of funding to broaden wireless high speed internet services into additional rural communities.

To further promote the benefits of Broadband, the Markell Administration has released the following video that celebrates the impact of broadband in driving economic opportunity, enhancing quality of life, and improving healthcare through telehealth services.

“Supporting economic mobility and opportunity for everyone in today’s economy requires access to high-speed internet,” said Governor Markell. “Whether it is giving students the tools at school and at home to get the most out of their education, ensuring businesses have the ability to compete efficiently and effectively, or making available tele-medicine to improve access to health care, expanding high-speed broadband raises the quality of life for our citizens. I’m proud of the progress we have made together to make Delaware the best state in the nation for internet speeds and, with new rounds of grants from the state, I’m confident we can build on this progress toward becoming the first state where everyone has access to all of the benefits broadband provides.”

Delaware broadband facts

• Delaware boasts the fastest Internet connection speeds in the country, and ranks among the fastest in the world, according to Akamai Technologies Inc. who publishes a quarterly “State of the Internet report”. Downloading a high definition movie that would have taken 25 seconds in 2009 can be accomplished in 2 seconds on today’s network.
• In 2014, Delaware had the largest increase in Internet speed of any state in the nation with a 42% jump over the previous year.
• Delaware’s Department of Technology and Information has established Wi-Fi networks in more than 200 state government buildings, which provide fast and reliable access to more than 2,500 staff and citizens each day.
• Since 2009, public-private partnerships to expand Delaware’s broadband infrastructure have resulted in construction of more than 700 miles of new fiber optic infrastructure throughout the state.
• Delaware’s broadband “backbone” features high capacity fiber-optic lines that run the length of the state from Wilmington to Georgetown, and from Seaford to Lewes, improving internet reliability for consumers and increasing internet access speeds by as much as 10 times since 2009.
• Legislation passed in 2013 establishing the Delaware Broadband Grant allows DTI to leverage additional private investment to install high speed fiber optic lines in underserved communities and key public sites such as schools, libraries, health care facilities, and places that provide government services.
• Work with wireless service providers to expand and upgrade 4G/LTE cellular phone services into southern and rural communities across Delaware has ensured more than 99 percent of the state is covered by wireless providers, improving citizen access to public safety and emergency services, including enhanced 911, benefiting the agricultural community, and improving services to local businesses.

Excerpts from the video: Celebrating Delaware’s broadband success
The video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0vgMgp6vkk.

“Broadband access has become like a utility,” said Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins when speaking about its importance in spurring economic growth and opportunity. “If you’re going to operate and be successful in the information age you need access to broadband.”

“We found that there was a lot of area that wasn’t served very well by fiber,” said Lightower CEO Philip Olivero. “The State of Delaware, who was willing to invest in this network definitely helped make this happen.”

“In many instances we’re getting orders for customers, and the first truck has to be rolling out of our gate within three to six hours,” said Edward Krupka, Jr, Chief Information Office for Burris Logistics, speaking about the benefits of reliable access to broadband. “For us to miss an order or miss processing times because of a network failure means that we’ll miss out on the service levels that we guarantee to our customers.”

“One of the key aspects to this investment (in broadband) is the quality of life to our citizens and visitors. (It has) a direct impact to their level of service and as a result it’ll improve Sussex County’s attractiveness,” said Todd Lawson, Sussex County Administrator, who emphasized broadband’s role in supporting economic development and quality of life.

“With broadband we were able to offer more kinds of things, more access to materials,” said Georgetown library Director Elaine Fike. “In our job center, having laptops and a person to assist with resumes and online job searches would not have been possible without (the broadband network).”

Carolyn Morris, Director of Telehealth Planning and Development for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, applauded the capabilities created by broadband to transmit healthcare records electronically over great distances and enable telemedicine, which connects residents at home and in their own communities to healthcare professionals via video link. “To see a specialist, downstate patients may need to travel great distances, maybe 200-300 miles (taking) a whole day,” Morris said. “Having broadband in Sussex County, the services will be able to be delivered in the community.”

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