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Library Broadband Builds Nebraska Communities

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About the Project

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded the Nebraska Library Commission a $2,416,403 grant to fund Nebraska's public computer center project, Library Broadband Builds Nebraska Communities. The three-year project, which ran from August 1, 2010 to September 30, 2013, was designed to expand broadband capacity; upgrade public computing resources in libraries; and advance access to employment, learning, health information, and E-Government services. The Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, provided funding to expand broadband access and adoption in communities across the U.S. and intends to increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits. In addition to the federal grant, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided $1,251,786 in matching funds, including a grant and technical assistance to support the project. The total project budget was $3,668,189.  

Through the grant, the Nebraska Library Commission enhanced public computer centers in 147 public library locations statewide. Public libraries qualified for the grant based on income levels, broadband saturation, or minority population levels. The majority of the participating libraries serve communities with a median income below the national average.  

According to the grant application, the Library Broadband Builds Nebraska Communities project also proposed to:
  • Upgrade broadband access at 45 public computer centers (achieved 129), deploy more than 600 new workstations and replace another 475 (achieved 789 & 663) at the 147 public library locations, to deliver rich Internet content and provide computer literacy training.
  • Enable access for as many as 13,300 weekly users at libraries (achieved 29,952 per week), and increase the average Internet speeds at public computer centers (achieved a nearly 400% average increase of 15.9 Megabits–from 3.9M to 19.8M).
  • Train as many as 42,700 residents with instructor-led training (achieved nearly 84,000 total training hours to 32,200 program participants).
Project Partners Contact Information: JoAnn S. McManus, Project & Program Manager, Nebraska Library Commission, 1200 N St., Lincoln, NE 68508, 800-307-2665, 402-471-4870, joann.mcmanus@nebraska.gov

Additional Links:

BroadbandUSA Connecting America's Communities Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Nebraska Library CommissionRecovery.Nebraska.gov

For more information, contact Allana Novotny.