Helping Localities Take Steps Forward with Digital Infrastructure – in the Right Way based on their Needs
“We know we need broadband, but where and how do we get started?”
If you want to help localities get moving forward to address their broadband and digital infrastructure needs, you need to know which localities need help, which are ready for help, and what type of help they need. They need a roadmap forward and guidance on what options they have. Not doing anything is not an option, as unserved and underserved areas face increasing population losses and business decline.
SNG has developed the Digital Needs and Readiness Program to save time and resources in the discovery process to identify and qualify those localities who are ready to take meaningful next steps with a broadband initiative.
Whether you are an agency supporting local economic development, or a provider offering to deploy the necessary infrastructure or services, you will need a way to reach out to each locality to establish their current level of readiness and assess where they stand in their efforts to ensure they have the digital infrastructure they need.
The challenge is that when working with various localities, each are at different stages of understanding their digital infrastructure needs. They will be at different stages in developing plans to address those needs, ranging from not started to having begun implementation. Finding out at which stage a locality is can be very time consuming. Days and many conversations can be spent to find out the locality is not ready for you.
When working with any locality, it is important to know if they are ready for you and at what stage they are so that you can engage effectively and with the right priority.
The Digital Needs and Readiness Program automates the discovery process as much as possible so resources can be focused and appropriate next steps can be taken based on identified needs – saving both you and the locality time and money. This saves administrative costs, plus it offers qualitative benefits by enabling more meaningful conversations to happen sooner. Most importantly, you will have data points to prioritize localities for the right type of follow-up and prepare them for constructive discussions based on their digital needs and their stage of readiness.
Which localities are ready to work with you?
The Digital Needs and Readiness Assessment reveals the current stage of the locality and additional factors that inform as to what appropriate next steps may be. SNG offers a sequence of services that meet the needs of the locality at each stage of their readiness.
Every time a locality completes the Digital Needs and Readiness Assessment, SNG analyzes the responses to provide a summary of their stage of readiness so you can prioritize your outreach and engagement efforts based on an objective third party assessment. With data points on a locality’s digital needs and their stage of readiness, the right questions can be asked and the appropriate next steps can be taken based on their needs – saving both you and the locality time and money.
SNG offers the following unique tools and services to help localities move forward more quickly and cost-effectively to address their broadband and digital infrastructure needs.
The Broadband Toolkit provides guidance and tools to help localities come up to speed on what it takes to plan and implement a digital infrastructure initiative. Those who are at the very early stages of considering an initiative can benefit from insights and methods to move forward successfully.
The Digital Economy Demand Checkup service provides SNG’s industry-leading digital economy metrics and data collection tools for localities considering broadband and digital infrastructure projects. The service is designed to be a practical and cost-effective way for localities to assess whether they have enough of an addressable market by gathering demand data directly from residents, businesses, and organizations. Assessing broadband demand is one of the first steps a locality can and should take as they decide where and how to get started.
The Economic Feasibility Assessment is ideal for localities that have made a decision to move forward but who need to understand the options and cost-benefits to the community before making commitments and formalizing plans. Generally, localities that have been seriously considering a digital infrastructure initiative will benefit from getting a solid understanding on whether benefits outweigh costs before committing financial and human resources to the project.
Even localities that may not have started any planning may want to take this step right away, and those that have planned implementation but not gone through this step can still benefit.
The Community Readiness Assessment is recommended for localities that have clearly identified and intent to undertake a digital infrastructure initiative, even if they have not defined their implementation plan yet. In fact, the Community Readiness Assessment is designed to engage community partners and stakeholders to ensure that the locality is ready to achieve success and to ensure that plans incorporate actions that are needed to be ready. A readiness assessment is an essential part of implementation planning.
The Broadband Impact and Market Assessment provides essential information on current demand to support digital infrastructure planning, both for deployment planning and for business plans. In addition, the assessment uncovers potential demand and demand drivers as well as barriers that may need to be addressed. Understanding demand is essential to ensuring that the investment is sustainable and meeting the current and future needs of the community. Moreover, the demand assessment provides a community baseline for benchmarking progress as a result of the implementation.
The Broadband Impact and Market Assessment can be taken early in the process as part of considering to undertake a digital infrastructure initiative. If it has not already been done as part of implementation planning, then it should seriously be considered even when implementation is under way.
The Business Plan, Engineering, and Signups can be started early in the process once a broadband project is seriously under consideration. However, the business plan and engineering can only be firmed up with more detail based on facts on the ground revealed through the market assessment, which informs the business model and network design priorities and timing. Demand Aggregation provides a process for gathering actual sign-ups to the network prior to, and during, implementation. Making the signup process as easy as possible and doing it prior to deployment ensures that network investments are built on solid ground of subscriber support. SNG works with qualified demand aggregation providers to meet your needs.
How SNG’s process works
SNG’s goal is to help you be as effective as possible in engaging with localities to make the best use of your resources and limited staff time. We will work with you to develop and operational plan that aligns with your needs and approach to quickly and cost-effectively identify those localities with whom you are trying to work.
By understanding digital needs and readiness, you can quickly see where the locality stands in their Path Forward for Communities and Regions SNG has developed to help localities achieve their goals through broadband and digital infrastructure in a way that is pragmatic and cost-effective.