Palm Beach County Broadband Initiative
In June 2006, officials from the School District of Palm Beach County approached County Administration and ISS to discuss their interest in joining the County’s network in lieu of substantially upgrading their existing network facilities leased from AT&T (Bell South). Knowing this was only the beginning of sharing our County Network services, a Palm Beach Wireless Task Force was also established in June, whose original members included Palm Beach County Government (Board of County Commissioners), the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach State College, South Florida Water Management District and the Palm Beach County Education Commission. The Palm Beach Wireless mission was to establish a cooperative structure for delivering wireless internet services to citizens, business, education, government, and non-profit organizations in Palm Beach County. Our goal was to connect countywide wireless data systems to encourage shared use of existing resources and foster joint ventures with private and public partners.
In February 2007, we entered into an Interlocal Agreement with the School District to connect five school facilities located near the County’s fiber run. Additional schools were phased in over time and we continued to add schools to our network as our services extend throughout the County. This business partnership held the promise that other benefits would be derived over time.
In December 2007, a wireless network was installed in the Pleasant City neighborhood in West Palm Beach and the Task Force was renamed as Palm Beach County Broadband Initiative with the same six charter organizations to encourage the shared utilization of existing taxpayer-owned fiber optic network infrastructure as well as wireless technology. A primary goal of the collaborative was to narrow the gap between people who have resources and skills to effectively access and use information technology and the internet, and those who do not. Since then, additional taxpayer-supported organizations have joined, including the Health Care District of Palm Beach County as well as multiple municipalities.
Our mission was successful in connecting our member organizations to each other and disaster recovery facilities via our private fiber optic network and our Telco partners, AT&T and Florida LambdaRail. Out initiative was also successful in providing free wireless internet access in specific high need rural and urban neighborhoods of Palm Beach County as part of our Digital Divide Program to improve computer literacy in impoverished neighborhoods.
The Palm Beach Broadband Initiative successfully demonstrated intergovernmental cooperation among numerous representatives of government, education, and community organizations in multiple broadband networking projects in Palm Beach County. This experience fostered working relationships where none previously existed and provides an opportunity to leverage our individual technology expertise and investments.
Today, we continue our mission with endless collaborations in connecting external agencies to our network that has expanded into offering other services such as, Application, Data, Disaster Recovery and GIS Hosting services…will your agency be next?