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BTOP Case Study Five: Bill Callahan, Connect Your Community Project Director, OneCommunity


As part of our BTOP series: Tales from the Front Lines, today we are highlighting Ohio sustainable broadband adoption grantee One Community.

OneCommunity, a non-profit broadband provider in Northeast Ohio, is using Recovery Act funding to expand innovative broadband adoption work it is doing in Cleveland and replicate the program in seven other communities in Ohio and four other states. The Connect Your Community (CYC) project provides computer classes and broadband training, as well as low-cost equipment and help finding affordable Internet access, to get low-income households online. One key to the program is the CYC Corps, a team of staffers hired in each community to teach computer and Internet basics to others, who are using those skills to look for jobs or even start their own businesses online. Working with eight local partners, OneCommunity says it is on track to produce 26,000 new broadband adopters. (OneCommunity is also using another Recovery Act award to upgrade and expand its fiber-optic network, which connects anchor institutions in Northeast Ohio).

Computer training at a public housing site in Lorain, Ohio.

Callahan explained that in today’s job market – with many openings posted only online and many resumes accepted only online – broadband is a requirement. Yet Internet access alone is not enough to create economic opportunities and transform societies. It is equally important to focus on adoption. “We can’t accomplish true digital transformation of our schools, hospitals, governments or our private economy as long as thousands of our neighbors - students and parents, patients, citizens, workers and consumers - remain disconnected and unable to participate,” Callahan said.

For more information see the OneCommunity BTOP project pages.