Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Berkeley County first Lowcountry community to get Connected tech status

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn | Contributed photo
Connect South Carolina recently announced that Berkeley County has been certified a Connected South Carolina community.

Berkeley is the eighth certified Connnected community in South Carolina -- and the first in the Lowcountry.

Additionally, Connect South Carolina released its Technology Action Plan.

"One of the goals in completing this assessment has been to identify areas of the county where the digital divide still exists,” Donna Worden, 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 partnered with Connect South Carolina in February 2013 on the Connected Community Engagement Program, which assesses the local broadband infrastructure.

“Broadband is no longer a luxury; it is essential in our daily lives,” Mignon Clyburn, an FCC commissioner and Charleston native, said. “Broadband is a gateway through which many Lowcountry residents and businesses obtain critical information, find jobs, stay connected with teachers and health care providers, and keep up-to-date with family members and friends. We all benefit when everyone is connected.”

William Helmly, president and chief operating officer of Home Telecom, agreed.

“I am pleased Home Telecom plays a key role in Berkeley County’s achieving 98 percent of access to broadband service," Helmly said. "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 praised the area's residents.

“Berkeley County citizens did a remarkable job working together to bring this program to reality," Stritzinger said. "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 gives communities a venue to address successes, as well as access to greater technological opportunities.

The Berkeley County Technology Action Plan includes a number of recommended projects and action items.

For more information, email berkeley@bcoc.com. Questions about the Connected Community Engagement Program in South Carolina can be directed to info@connectsc.org.

Organizations in this story

State of South Carolina 1301 Gervais St Columbia, SC 29201

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