BATON ROUGE, La. –The Louisiana initiative to improve Internet coverage in the state is providing public access computer kiosks in parishes where broadband Internet is underused or unavailable.
Connect My Louisiana, a four-year project conducted through a partnership between the Louisiana Division of Administration’s Office of Technology and the LSU AgCenter, develops and disseminates educational content to show the benefits of adopting broadband technology in business, education, health care and other aspects of economic activity, said LSU AgCenter Connect My Louisiana coordinator Valerie Vincent.
“Connect My Louisiana initially focused on 18 parishes where broadband is underused, but the mission is expanding” Vincent said.
The main activity of the project has been providing consumers, business owners, local government representatives and other public and private organizations with access to educational resources that promote greater broadband Internet adoption.
Vincent said the kiosks are the latest in touch-screen computer technology and will allow those without computers or Internet access the ability to go online.
“The computers are being placed in LSU AgCenter offices in the original 18 parishes with an additional four parishes providing free Internet access to the public,” Vincent said.
The original parishes were Allen, Avoyelles, Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Franklin, Jefferson Davis, LaSalle, Madison, Morehouse, Pointe Coupee, Richland, St. Helena, Tensas, Washington and West Carroll.
The additional locations are Acadia, Ascension, Red River, and Tangipahoa parishes, Vincent said.
Vincent said users of the computer users will need to make arrangements for printing because the machines will not be connected to a printer.
“We recommend that individuals wanting to print should email the document to themselves for printing at another site,” she said. “The program will provide a limited number of jump drives to those who don’t have an email account.”
In addition to the kiosk, the Louisiana Broadband Initiative is using a smart phone app from Mobile Pulse to measure mobile broadband coverage for AT&T and Verizon Wireless, Louisiana’s two statewide providers, she said.
David Moore, state broadband grant program director, said the information from the app will be a useful tool for planners, citizens and business owners.
“We simply download the Mobile Pulse app on smart phones and drive the state highways, and the app records data measuring AT&T and Verizon coverage areas and data speeds,” Moore said.
Another feature of Mobile Pulse is a public app that allows any citizen to help the Louisiana Broadband Initiative measure mobile coverage, Moore said.
The LSU AgCenter also is preparing people to take advantage of the Internet through Connect My Louisiana.
Vincent said in addition to being available for public use, the kiosks also will be used as a teaching resource by LSU AgCenter parish staff.
The Connect My Louisiana program provides classes that introduce residents and business people to broadband services and show them how it can be used to improve their lives.
For further information on the Connect My Louisiana program and the kiosks, visit the webpage at www.LSUAgCenter.com, and then search Connect My Louisiana.
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