Opportunities Program (BTOP)
The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded Auburn University Outreach $4.6 million to expand the availability of broadband technology in Alabama's rural libraries and public schools. Overall, the initiative will deploy 1,180 new computer workstations and replace nearly 1,640 more at 115 rural libraries and 47 public schools across Alabama.
Working in collaboration with project partners, the project will achieve the following outcomes:
- Enhance smaller libraries’ public computing facilities in a manner that makes more computers more accessible to job seekers.
- Provide faster and better broadband computing access, which will enable libraries to give users access to a wider array of online training and workforce development content.
- Offer student interns a real-world educational experience by employing them to assist wireless engineers, which will help these students build their resumes, career credentials and increase their prospects for employment.
- Improve public access to broadband services in underserved areas of the state in order to bridge the “digital divide” between low-income rural areas and wealthy urban areas.
- Provide PCC personnel with training and support so they can troubleshoot and solve many frontline technical support problems, which will make sure that more equipment can stay in operation providing more computing capacity to users, and ultimately ensuring the sustainability of a project.
- Establish audio-visual conference centers at rural libraries and schools that could serve as test-beds for next-generation health information and pharmaceutical advisory systems that enhance health care delivery in underserved rural areas of the state.