National Purposes

Introducing BroadbandUSA

BroadbandUSA is the President’s latest initiative to support community broadband projects and to promote broadband deployment and adoption. Building on expertise gained from overseeing the $4.7 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funded through the Recovery Act, BroadbandUSA offers online and in-person technical assistance to communities; hosts regional workshops around the country; and publishes guides and tools that provide communities with proven solutions to address problems in broadband infrastructure planning, financing, construction, and operations across many types of business models.

Full introductory webinar HERE.

Document: Introduction to Effective Public-Private Partnerships



TelemedicineTelemedicine and Telehealthcare



Economic  Opportunity






Energy & EnvironmentEnergy & the Environment



Government Performance

From city hall to the U.S. Capitol, government can be more efficient and transparent, and better serve the American people by relying more on broadband.


Civic Engagement



Public Safety




Online Learning at Community Colleges

By Jennifer Koebele, MS ED., Affordable Colleges Online

As the cost of tuition and fees at colleges and universities continue to rise, students are looking for creative ways to keep expenses down. Traditionally, community colleges have provided students the opportunity to pursue a certificate or degree at a low financial cost. Whether students wish to pursue an associate degree, receive training to enter the workforce, or earn a two-year degree to transfer to a four-year institution, community college can be an effective solution.

The increase in the number of online degree programs in the U.S. makes attending community college even easier. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are over 1,655 community colleges in the country, many which offer distance learning programs and courses. By making online classes available, community colleges are able to reach students located close by and in remote areas.

Distance learning has many benefits, including flexibility, fewer expenses and the ability to continue working. Of course, it is important for students to make sure the school they attend is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-recognized agency.

Access the Guide to Online Community Colleges here.  

Access the Accredited Online Colleges Search Page here. Selecting an accredited institute ensures financial aid eligibility and credit transferability. 

Can Electronic Medical Record Systems Transform Health Care?  Potential Health Benefits, Savings, And Costs

by Richard Hillestad, James Bigelow, Anthony Bower, Federico Girosi, Robin Meili, Richard Scoville and Roger Taylor

To broadly examine the potential health and financial benefits of health information technology (HIT), this paper compares health care with the use of IT in other industries. It estimates potential savings and costs of widespread adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) systems, models important health and safety benefits, and concludes that effective EMR implementation and networking could eventually save more than $81 billion annually—by improving health care efficiency and safety—and that HIT-enabled prevention and management of chronic disease could eventually double those savings while increasing health and other social benefits. However, this is unlikely to be realized without related changes to the health care system.

The U.S. health care industry is arguably the world’s largest, most inefficient information enterprise. However, although health absorbs more than $1.7 trillion per year—twice the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average—premature mortality in the United States is much higher than OECD averages.1 Most medical records are still stored on paper, which means that they cannot be used to coordinate care, routinely measure quality, or reduce medical errors. Also, consumers generally lack the information they need about costs or quality to make informed decisions about their care.

It is widely believed that broad adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) systems will lead to major health care savings, reduce medical errors, and improve health. But there has been little progress toward attaining these benefits. The United States trails a number of other countries in the use of EMR systems. Only 15–20 percent of U.S. physicians’ offices and 20–25 percent of hospitals have adopted such systems.4 Barriers to adoption include high costs, lack of certification and standardization, concerns about privacy, and a disconnect between who pays for EMR systems and who profits from them.

In 2003 the RAND Health Information Technology (HIT) Project team began a study to (1) better understand the role and importance of EMRs in improving health care and (2) inform government actions that could maximize the benefits of EMRs and increase their use. This paper summarizes that study’s results about benefits and costs. Download the report here.  Read the full article here.


by Robert E. Litan 

For the millions of people around the world who have embraced the Internet, the transformational effects of modern communications technologies are well known. Using search engines to access information, attending classes and college lectures online, conducting financial transactions and shopping, and enjoying music, video and games over the Internet are increasingly routine. But other Internet-based activities have yet to reach their full potential; among the most significant is telemedicine – the use of modern communications to deliver a wide range of health care to patients at locations that are physically distant from the caregiver.

By enabling more regular contact between patient and caregiver, the use of IT technologies can mean earlier detection of health problems and better outcomes that enable people to live longer and more satisfying lives. Telemedicine can help those with chronic illnesses to lead normal work and personal lives and enable older Americans to remain in their own homes instead of moving to institutional settings.   Access this report here.

Measuring the Effectiveness of the OLI Statistics Course in Accelerating Student Learning

Lovett, M., Meyer, O., & Thille, C. (2008)

The Open Learning Initiative (OLI) is an open educational resources project at Carnegie Mellon University that began in 2002 with a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. OLI creates web-based courses that are designed so that students can learn effectively without an instructor. In addition, the courses are often used by instructors to support and complement face-to-face classroom instruction. Our evaluation efforts have investigated OLI courses’ effectiveness in both of these instructional modes – stand-alone and hybrid.

This report documents several learning effectiveness studies that were focused on the OLI Statistics course and conducted during Fall 2005, Spring 2006, and Spring 2007. During the Fall 2005 and Spring 2006 studies, we collected empirical data about the instructional effectiveness of the OLI-Statistics course in stand-alone mode, as compared to traditional instruction. In both of these studies, in-class exam scores showed no significant difference between students in the stand-alone OLI-Statistics course and students in the traditional instructor-led course. In contrast, during the Spring 2007 study, we explored an accelerated learning hypothesis, namely, that learners using the OLI course in hybrid mode will learn the same amount of material in a significantly shorter period of time with equal learning gains, as compared to students in traditional instruction. In this study, results showed that OLI-Statistics students learned a full semester’s worth of material in half as much time and performed as well or better than students learning from traditional instruction over a full semester.

Download the report here.

Final Report:  A Comprehensive Assessment of Florida Virtual School

by Florida TaxWatch Center for Educational Performance and Accountability 

Financial investment does not automatically translate into improved student achievement. With approximately a third of the state’s budget directed to public education, it is imperative that Florida make sound decisions as to these taxpayer funds. Programs that work must be identified, replicated, and enhanced; those that do not must be eliminated.

In this report, Florida TaxWatch examines the viability of Florida Virtual School as a credible alternative to traditional schooling as regards both student achievement outcomes and cost-effectiveness. Florida Virtual School earned high marks in both. 

Download the  report here.

Broadband and Local Growth

by Jed Kolko Public Policy Institute of California, August 21, 2010

 The economic benefits of broadband expansion for local residents appear to be limited. Broadband expansion is associated with population growth as well as employment growth, and both the average wage and the employment rate—the share of working- age adults that is employed—are unaffected by broadband expansion. Furthermore, expanding broadband availability does not change the prevalence of telecommuting or other home- based work. Like other place- based policies, expanding broadband availability could raise property values and the local tax base, but without more direct benefits for residents in the form of higher wages or improved access to jobs.

The analysis relies on the uneven diffusion of broadband throughout the United States, allowing comparisons between areas with greater and less growth in broadband availability. I combine broadband data from the Federal Communications Commission, employment data from the National Establishment Time- Series database, and other economic data from the U.S. Census and BLS to examine broadband availability and economic activity in the U.S. between 1999 and 2006.

Download the report here.

Broadband and the Economy

Ministerial Background Report, 2008 

This report examines the way in which broadband networks interact with the economy, the role they play in creating the conditions for sustainable economic growth and prosperity, and the structural changes they enable. Emphasis is put on the economic impacts, in particular on growth, globalisation and employment.

Broadband networks are an increasingly integral part of the economy. As the technology evolves and bandwidth increases, the scope for broadband to act as an enabler of structural change in the economy expands as it affects an increasing number of sectors and activities. Direct effects result from investments in the technology and from rolling out the infrastructure. Indirect effects come from broadband‘s impact on factors driving growth, such as innovation, firm efficiency, competition and globalisation. Broadband facilitates the development of new inventions, new and improved goods and services, new processes, new business models, and it increases competitiveness and flexibility in the economy. More generally, broadband enables improved performance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) a general purpose technology (GPT) that is one of only a few technological improvements that fundamentally change how and where economic activity is organised. As such, significant impacts on the economy can be expected for example by enabling organisational change and enhancing co-ordination to reap productivity gains from overall investments in ICTs, although it may be difficult to clearly disentangle the economic impact of broadband from that of ICTs more generally. Furthermore, relative to other historical GPTs, such as railways and electricity, the impacts may be larger and materialise more rapidly.

Broadband has become an important part of almost every aspect of the knowledge economy and is especially so in activities that rely on the provision of data and information, particularly in service sectors. Many aspects of producing, delivering, consuming, co-ordination and organisation are now taking place over broadband communications networks. Broadband generates increased efficiency, productivity and welfare gains, and potentially contributes to job creation and occupational change. But it also gives rise to security and privacy concerns, and protecting users' security is increasingly important as the broadband- enabled Internet becomes part of the economic infrastructure.

Broadband is also increasingly important as an enabling technology for structural changes in the economy, most notably via its impact on productivity growth, but also by raising product market competition in many sectors, especially in services. ICTs and broadband are facilitating the globalisation of many services, with broadband making it feasible for producers and consumers of services to be in different geographical locations. ICT-enabled globalisation of services is having a fundamental impact on the way economies work and on the global allocation of resources, contributing to productivity growth by expanding markets, increasing business efficiency and reinforcing competitive pressure. 

Download the report here.

Partnership for a Connected Illinois 1337 Wabash Ave. Springfield, IL 62704 Phone: (217) 886-4228 Fax: (217) 718-4546