Recent News // Spartanburg County Reaches Technology Milestone as Connected Certified Community

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Comprehensive technology assessment results & priority projects presented

View the Plan Highlights

Spartanburg, SC – Connect South Carolina applauds the efforts of Spartanburg County for achieving certification with Connected Nation’s Connected℠ Community Engagement Program. To obtain Connected certification, Spartanburg County had to meet certain benchmark scores that demonstrate it is a technologically advanced community. The success of a community has become dependent on how broadly and deeply the community adopts technology resources and Spartanburg County has made tremendous strides and investments in broadband access, adoption, and use.

Results from a community technology assessment undertaken by the county and community stakeholders, along with an action plan for continued technology improvement, were released today at AFL corporate headquarters in Duncan, SC.

“Today marks yet another reason to celebrate Spartanburg’s momentum,” said Allen Smith, President and CEO, Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “Many players from all over the county deserve the credit for this accomplishment. While we join an elite group of communities that have obtained this recognition, the real work has just begun. This assessment lays the foundation for expanded, accelerated broadband, which has far- reaching impacts on economic development, education, and quality of place. We must use this assessment as a springboard for future work.”

School districts in Spartanburg County have made significant investments into 1-to-1 technology initiatives for students. A lack of equity in home broadband access and adoption is a significant barrier to allowing teachers to fully realize the benefits of new technologies. Because of this, Spartanburg community leaders came together with Connect South Carolina, a subsidiary of Connected Nation, to conduct a comprehensive study on the state of broadband and related technologies in Spartanburg. Connected Nation is the national leader in community technology planning and data analysis, and has been compiling strategic technology plans for more than 10 years. The nonprofit organization’s technology experts and research analysts offer one-of-a-kind detailed assessments and innovative project plans for continued adoption and use that are unmatched in the industry.

“It has been a great pleasure to work with the amazing leaders in the Spartanburg community,” said Jim Stritzinger, Executive Director, Connect South Carolina. “All clearly understand that broadband is a key component to long-term success, and everyone pitched in on the data collection effort to ensure a successful project.”

The technology study included residents, businesses, K-12 schools, libraries, and higher education institutions, and was made possible by the leadership of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Ron Garner, Superintendent, Spartanburg District One, and John Miller, CEO, Denny’s Corporation, along with the financial support of all seven Spartanburg school districts and the Mary Black Foundation.

“We recognize that if our students are to be college and career ready, they must have ready access to the Internet at school and home,” said Garner. “As school systems, we cannot provide an equitable playing field for all children in Spartanburg County when there are areas that lack high speed broadband connectivity. We applaud the efforts of Connect South Carolina and are excited to be part of the process.”

Key findings for Spartanburg County:

  • 95.8% of households have access to 100 Mbps Internet speeds
  • 28.5% of households do not subscribe to Internet service
  • Average monthly cost of Internet service is $52.51
  • 100% of schools have or are planning a 1-to-1 device program
  • 63.2% of households with children earning less than $20,000 per year do not have Internet
  • 200 public computers are available in Spartanburg libraries
  • 34% of adults without home Internet access the web at libraries
  • 93% of businesses have an Internet connection and 85% of businesses have a website
  • Less than half (49.4%) of employers feel employee tech skills match business needs

“Top schools connect faculty, students, and assignments in a well connected and shared environment. Business communications, services, tasks, and project management are completely dependent on quality connections as well. Top cities and towns require the same,” said Miller. “In fact, a lack of quality access will soon be considered a disadvantage. Being more connected in Spartanburg County, through the efforts of Connect South Carolina, will secure us a solid community advantage!”

From the completed technology assessment, priority projects have been identified and detailed in Spartanburg’s Community Technology Action Plan to help catapult the county to a new level of technology adoption and use.

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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. Connect South Carolina built, and works with all broadband providers to maintain, South Carolina’s only comprehensive 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. Connect South Carolina is a subsidiary of Connected Nation.

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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.