UWEX Applications for BTOP Funding
U.W. Extension would like to thank the hundreds of individuals, communities and institutions that assisted with the submittal of two grant applications for Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funding. Please find below the applications and some of the additional information that provide specifics on the applications that were submitted for these projects.
BTOP Sustainable Broadband Adoption (SBA) Application, Submitted on March 12, 2010
"Building Community Capacity through Sustainable Broadband Adoption"
- Final Application
- Supplemental Information
- List of Key Collaborators (some additional letters of support were submitted late and not included in the final application)
- List of Key Partners
- List of Resumes Included in the Final Application
BTOP Comprehensive Community Infrastructure (CCI) Application, Submitted on March 26, 2010:
“Building Community Capacity through Broadband":
- Final Application
- Key Partners - Letters of Commitment (some additional letters of support were submitted late and not included in the final application)
- Key Collaborators - Letters of Support
- Network Diagram
- Draft of the Proposed Community Area Network Maps (Institutions requesting to be part of the community run networks):
- Supplemental Materials
- Management Team Organizational Chart
Ayse Somersan said it best in her book titled, "Distinguished Service: University of Wisconsin Faculty and Staff Helping to Build Organizations in the State": In Distinguished Service, Ayse Somerson draws on decades of experience to tell the story of Extension's work to build independent organizations to meet the diverse needs of Wisconsin's citizens. "One can hardly identify a facet of Wisconsin's history where the University of Wisconsin has not been an integral part of change and growth. THis book build on that rich tradition. The focus is a dimension of outreach and extension work which is often overlooked in historical accounts of faculty contributions beyond research and classroom teaching. It is the area of organizational development and institution building - University faculty helping people of similar interests and avocations from associations and organizations to learn form each other, further a cause, shape public policy and provide an organized way for University staff to deliver education".
The Rural Electrification of Wisconsin has many parallels to the expansion of broadband in Wisconsin (Authored by Professor Andrew Lewis, Community Development Specialist, Center for Community and Economic Development, U.W. Extension):
Ayse Somersan provides more than a dozen examples of "organization building" in her book, but the electrification of Wisconsin is one story that is omitted. It has many parallels to the expansion of broadband in the State of Wisconsin.
While urban households and businesses gained electricity in large numbers after 1910, the more sparsely populated rural regions of the United States were generally without electricity and were denied the commercial progress it brought. Electrical service providers ignored the rural market due to its high network construction costs and the prospect of meager immediate profits. From the supplier standpoint, rural homes, farms and businesses were stretched too far apart and offered too little demand relative to the cost of investment. Unlike their counterparts in cities, rural residents were expected to advance the financing for the necessary infrastructure to the firm supplying electrical power from a distant location. In rural areas that were serviced, electrical rates in the 1920s were commonly twice as high as urban rates (1).
The task of organizing rural electric cooperatives was generally left to local leaders; they organized meetings, collected fees, enrolled consumers, and worked with the REA on program details. The REA provided farmers with low-interest loans to help them build their own lines and provide their own electricity. On May 7, 1937, Wisconsin's first cooperative, Richland Electric Cooperative, went into service. Within fifteen years, 90% of American farms had electricity (2). The founding President of the Richland Electric Cooperative was Richland County University Extension Agent A.V. (Vernon) Miller who served as President until 1943 (3).
Extension helped with the rural electrification program, bringing federal loans for cooperative electric power lines to some 5,500 Wisconsin farms within the first year (1937) (4). In the 1960’s, Extension had Electrification Specialists like Lyndon A. Brooks (5). Extension staff members distributed information, headed tours of electrified farms, and taught farmers something about wiring and installation. Most important of all, though, they helped rural people organize electric cooperatives to work with REA. The first REA cooperative lines in Wisconsin were built in Richland County in 1936-1937, with the Richland county agent serving as president of the cooperative. Similar activities took place across the nation5.
In a speech before the 1983 Director's Conference of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, MIT economist Lester Thurow put it this way:
"The real problem, I think, if you look at the American economy, is that the world for the Americans is never going to be the same again. Those decades of what I would call effortless superiority for America are over.
If you go back to 1953, America had a per capita gross national product twice that of the next best country in the world, eight times that of the Japanese. We could simply afford to do things, make mistakes, be sloppy, and still have the world's highest standard of living. By the time you get to 1981 that isn't true. In 1981, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development felt the United States would have fallen to 10th. They thought we'd been passed in terms of per capita GNP by Switzerland, Sweden, West Germany, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Belgium, and Luxembourg and were tied with the French for 10th.
We are now in a world of equal competitors. There are other countries that can afford to do anything that we in America can afford to do. Back there in the mid-1950's, we had an enormous technological lead on the rest of the world." (6)
(1) Brown, D.C. Electricity for Rural America. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1980
(2) Wisconsin Historical Society, http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/tp-041/?action=more_essay
(3) Taking the University to the People, Rasmussen, Iowa State University Press, 1989 (Additional information was from, The History of the Richland Electric shared with me by Steve Kohlstedt of the Richland County UWEX office).
(4) U.W. Extension History, http://www.uwex.edu/about/history/
(6) Rural Electrification, May 1983
Even the Private Sector Recognizes the Need for Education on the Topic of Broadband:
AT&T has outlined the steps necessary to receive 100% broadband penetration by 2014. Step number 5 speaks directly to our complementary BTOP applications:
- 5. Remove Impediments to Broadband Adoption
"Lack of education and training about the benefits of broadband keep some Americans away out of fear or indifference. Low income levels make it challenging for some Americans to afford either computers or monthly subscription for broadband service. And some Americans with disabilities struggle to identify or access the services or equipment they need.
A National Broadband Plan should provide training and public access to broadband services; economic assistance for the acquisition of broadband services and equipment; and incentives for the development of technology and content aimed at specific needs.
Americans must also be confident that their sensitive and confidential data will stay private and secure when they are online. This includes encouraging ongoing private sector efforts by all providers to create clear and understandable privacy policies that give consumers individual control over how their data is used."