Today, technology plays a pivotal role in how businesses operate, how institutions provide services, and where consumers choose to live, work, and play. The success of a community has become dependent on how broadly and deeply the community adopts technology resources, which includes access to reliable, high-speed networks, digital literacy of residents, and the use of online resources locally for business, government, and leisure. As noted in the National Broadband Plan (NBP), broadband Internet is “a foundation for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness and a better way of life.”
While school districts in Spartanburg County have made significant investment into one-to-one technology initiatives to enhance the student engagement with technology, the lack of equity in home broadband access and adoption is a significant barrier to allowing teachers to fully realize the benefits of the new technologies. Despite students having access to personal devices, teachers continue to be unable to issue Internet-based homework because some students do not have access to broadband at home. It is within this context that community leaders came together with Connected Nation and Connect South Carolina to conduct a comprehensive study on the state of broadband and related technologies in Spartanburg. Ultimately this study would lead to finding data-driven solutions to overcome the barriers to broadband adoption.
With the leadership of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, two dedicated community Co-Champions, Dr. Ron Garner, Superintendent, Spartanburg District One, and John Miller, CEO, Denny’s Corporation, and the support of all seven Spartanburg school districts, Spartanburg County Council, the City of Spartanburg, and the Mary Black Foundation and many other organizations, the Spartanburg community team began working on a technology assessment in 2015 that included 2,585 residents, 327 businesses, 57 K-12 schools, 10 libraries, and 5 higher education institutions.
The following provides a summary of the Spartanburg County Technology Assessment and Technology Action Plan recommendations.