Utah Broadband Outreach Center Celebrates Award-Winning Year

Pete CodellaNews

The Utah Broadband Outreach Center and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) celebrated an award-winning year at the 2016 Broadband Tech Summit. The industry-focused event highlighted the state’s broadband accomplishments as well as best practices for continued growth.

“Utah is a national broadband leader because of consistent collaboration between government and industry,” said Val Hale, executive director of GOED. “These partnerships help us maintain a robust broadband infrastructure with some of the nation’s top broadband speeds, and allow us to provide sophisticated services statewide.”

The interactive mapping tool available at locate.utah.gov is one product of Utah’s collaboration. The website, which provides up-to-date infrastructure and economic development information to business leaders and site selectors, was developed by the Broadband Outreach Center in partnership with the Utah Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC). Locate.utah.gov recently earned a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award in the new media category from the International Economic Development Council. The site also received an award last year from the Center for Digital Government.

The Broadband Tech Summit featured local government and education leaders, as well as national broadband and tech experts from companies such as Comcast, Google and AT&T. Utah is no stranger to big names in the industry, welcoming projects such as Google Fiber to add to the state’s burgeoning connectivity. According to Akamai Digital, Utah is no. 5 in the nation for Internet speeds.

“Experts understand that broadband is the infrastructure of the tech sector and a catalyst for a variety of economic opportunities,” said Kelleigh Cole, director of the Broadband Outreach Center. “High-speed Internet allows businesses to expand, and it connects our communities to new educational and employment opportunities from any location in the state.”

This year’s summit introduced a new format to capture the spirit of the fast-paced tech sector. Each summit speaker accepted the challenge of presenting their topic in 18 minutes or less, focusing on topics relevant to the growing digital world. Danilo Campos, self-taught programmer and technical director of social impact at GitHub, discussed how digital inclusion efforts can benefit businesses and the economy. Salt Lake local Chrisella Herzog, editor-in-chief of WhiteHat Magazine, discussed the roles broadband and the information and communications technology sector play in global development.

The 2016 Broadband Tech Summit, held at the Falls Event Center in Trolley Square, was made possible by its hosting sponsors, the Lehi and Salt Lake Chambers of Commerce, and by summit partners: AT&T, CenturyLink, Comcast, Corning, Emery Telcom, GitHub, Google Fiber, UTOPIA Fiber and Xtelesis.