The ARRA-funded Connect Anoka County / Zayo fiber project is one of 12 CCI (Comprehensive Community Infrastructure) grants selected to participate in a study that the NTIA is conducting to evaluate economic and social impacts of the BTOP grants. The study will assess the impact that the BTOP grants are having on broadband infrastructure and in achieving economic and social benefits in the community.
The Blandin Foundation’s MIRC (Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities) project was selected for a similar evaluation for adoption projects. It’s great that the Federal government is taking evaluation a step farther than you might think they would. All of the award recipients have to track a range of items such as jobs, people trained, miles built – the items obviously vary depending on the type of project. This evaluation seems to go that extra step to see if life was made better through the investment – both from a social and economic perspective. It seems like we’ll glean more info that can be used both in and out of the federally funded/supported projects.
Blandin had the evaluators to visit some MIRC sites last fall. (I did a series of posts on our Minnesota tour with the evaluators.) It will be fun to see the results of that visit and learn more about what happened with Anoka County.