Ken Frazier, the CEO of Merck, the largest drug company in the country, in a recent interview said no effective vaccine has been delivered in less than four years in the last quarter century. While we all hope a safe vaccine will arrive in the next year, we have to be prepared for the long haul.
Caddo Parish School administrators today do not know how many of their 40,000 students have access to the internet. The digital divide – the gulf between those who have access to the online super highway and those who don’t – has widened considerably post-COVID-19. This perfect storm is creating a critical need for broadband infrastructure.
For the past four months, the Digital Infrastructure Committee (DIC) of the Shreveport Economic Recovery Task Force (SERT), of which I am a member, has been diligently strategizing on a solution. But first we have to understand who in the city and parish have access to adequate internet service.
Consequently, DIC is conducting a 30-day survey campaign, beginning Aug. 2, through Sept. 7, 2020. The survey, which takes less than 60 seconds to fill out, is available both online and in paper format.
There is an unprecedented coalition now working to capture this important data. All branches of the Shreveport Library system as well as the Caddo Parish School’s Central Office and Student Services will serve as contactless pick up and drop off points. Our federal and state delegations and Parish commissioners are assisting in getting this survey out to the general public.
Take the survey:Participate in the Northwest Louisiana Broadband Survey here
Additionally, each week, the Shreveport Sun and Shreveport Times will publish the survey in their respective newspapers. Mayor Adrian Perkins has directed the city’s Chief Technology Officer Keith Hanson to assist in delivering the survey city wide.
The information gathered from this survey will assist future public/private partnerships to deliver inexpensive and effective Internet access to every citizen across the parish. Solving the digital divide has now become a generational effort.
Residents can fill out the 60-second survey here. https://forms.gle/3GEtoNH2FP7eHMiA8
Others can complete and drop off at any library location, the Central Office and Student Services Center of the Caddo Parish School Board:
1638 Murphy Street; 1961 Midway Avenue.
Final drop off date is Sept. 7, 2020.
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