Riverside County, California Lays Out Case for Countywide Affordable Broadband Project

September 13, 2017 8:29 am PST

County Launches Data-Rich Resource Pages to Promote Its Bold Approach to a Stronger Economy and Higher Quality of Life

SEATTLE, WA-- Riverside County Chief Data Officer Tom Mullen announced the release of three new resource pages explaining the value of affordable, gigabit, high-speed, broadband internet service for businesses, residents and those who lack reliable internet access in the tenth most populous county in the U.S.

Mullen and team are promoting their RIVCOconnect project in which the county will bring affordable, high speed, broadband services to every resident in its vast, 7,400 square miles. Currently, Riverside County is accepting request for proposals, with submissions due by September 28, 2017, from internet providers. These newly launched resource pages detail the county’s vision for what widespread, reliable, high speed internet can provide.

The page dedicated to economic growth explains the power of widespread, gigabit connectivity to improve operational efficiency for businesses. Mullen and team are particularly interested in promoting telecommuting, teleconferencing and linking work spaces since 41% of residents leave the county everyday to work. Using data and data visualizations from the county’s open data portal and U.S. Census data, the “RIVCO-connect - Business Community” page makes a case that stronger internet could help small to mid-sized businesses in the county grow, and they currently employ half the county’s working population. Making more jobs available in-county strengthens community by keeping people near their families, relieves traffic on congested freeways, and engages home-bound community members who can provide services to global employers.

“The residents of Riverside County have an immediate need for better and more affordable broadband internet. It will cut commute times, improve educational outcomes and grow our economy. The coasts are full. We are a here with intelligent, skilled workers and we want them working in the county, not commuting outside of it," says Mullen.

Riverside County chose to build their resource pages using Perspectives, Socrata's next-gen data narration product, because the county can quickly combine video tutorials, data visualizations, images and text to create a complete story for residents. The data on many of the embedded visualizations is updated automatically via the county’s Socrata-powered open data portal, which hosts health, education, demographic, public safety and other public data. Using a data-friendly tool like Perspectives shows Riverside wants efficiency, accuracy and agility when communicating with residents.

“We’re excited to see Riverside County using Perspectives to communicate the importance of gigabit broadband for the county,” said Kevin Merritt, CEO and founder of Socrata. “Perspectives provides context around data, allowing everyone to understand it and put it to use quickly.”

For other government agencies considering adopting a similar program, Mullen has advice: “The data itself is not the end goal or answer, but rather a catalyst to connect ideas, initiatives, outcomes, operations and resources with residents, businesses and decision-makers inside your organization and throughout your community.”

About Socrata:

Socrata is the market leader in making existing government data discoverable, usable, and actionable for government workers and the people they serve. Socrata provides a data-as-a-service platform and cloud applications exclusively for city, county, state, and federal government organizations. Socrata delivers unprecedented, data-driven innovation and cost-savings by bringing together disparate systems and leveraging the cloud to dramatically enhance the effectiveness of government programs, to improve quality of life for residents, positively impact local economies, and achieve excellence in government operations. The technology is optimized on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Sector cloud and delivered using the exclusive Socrata Blueprint Methodology.


Press Contacts

Riverside County:
Tom Mullen
Chief Data Officer

David Littell
RIVCOconnect Director

Elise Oras