Newaygo County Becomes Certified Connected Community

NEWAYGO — Newaygo County was officially certified this week by Connect Michigan as a certified Connected Community.

The Newaygo County Technology Planning Team also released a Technology Action Plan to the county commission.

“Broadband Internet is crucial to education and commerce,” Jon Schneider, Newaygo city manager, told the commission. “Partners across Newaygo County have shown their dedication to raising the bar through their work toward broadband certification with Connect Michigan.”

Newaygo County worked with Connect Michigan through the Connected Community Engagement Program. This initiative assesses the local broadband landscape, identifies connectivity gaps, and establishes technology-driven goals and objectives to increase broadband access, adoption, and use for families, organizations, and businesses throughout the community.

More than 50 Michigan communities are engaged in the Connected program. Newaygo County joins 15 others that have achieved Connected certification. Broadband adoption rates in Connected certified communities are 6 percentage points higher than the statewide average and a full 15 percentage points higher than the national average. Additionally, businesses in communities participating in the Connected program in Michigan have higher rates of website adoption than the state average. More than 1,600 local leaders have been involved in the program throughout the
state since its beginning in 2011.

“Not only as individual communities, but for Newaygo County as a whole, local governments need to plan and prepare for Internet-enhanced developments in their jurisdictions,” said Todd Blake, city manager and finance director of the Newaygo County city of Fremont. “Internet has become an essential part of work
and leisure for all, and residents are depending on their local government representatives to do everything they can to prepare for it. It is no secret that society, especially young adults, is choosing to live and invest in communities that have high-speed Internet everywhere they go in their everyday lives.”

The City of Newaygo was featured in a blog by Connect Michigan for its implementation of Facebook to build a community communication network.

“With Facebook, the information spread is much faster, it gets to people almost instantaneously,” Schneider said.

One recent example: Newaygo used its Facebook page to warn citizens about a water main break, where reduced pressure in the system posed a health hazard. Read the full story at this link. 

“Congratulations to the Newaygo County Technology Planning team and the community,” said Eric Frederick, vice president for community affairs for Connect Michigan and Connected Nation. “The effort put forth by this group of dedicated people doesn’t stop here. Today’s certification is not the end of the process—it is a milestone. Through projects like performing an analysis of local policies and ordinances to ensure that the local policies are conducive to broadband build-out and others outlined in the Technology Action Plan, Newaygo County is setting itself up for better broadband.”

For more information about the Connected Community Engagement Program in Michigan, contact info@connectmi.org.

Connect Michigan, in partnership with the Michigan Public Service Commission, is working to ensure that all Michiganders can experience the benefits of broadband. Technology, especially widespread access, adoption, and use, improves quality
of life. More at www.connectmi.org.

Washington, D.C.-based 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. Visit http://connectmycommunity.org for more on the Connected program.

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