Serving DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee and Polk Counties

Broadband Plan Wins National Award and Sparks Local Action

Bartow, FL (July 21, 2015) – The Central Florida Regional Planning Council (CFRPC), along with partner planning councils Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council received the Major Metro Achievement Award presented by the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) for the Florida Local/Regional Broadband Planning Project designed to educate and empower communities to plan for broadband infrastructure. Broadband Polk, a collaborative effort to develop a comprehensive broadband plan to address the current and future broadband needs for Polk County was developed as a result of this project.

Broadband-Plan-Wins-National-Award-and-Sparks-Local-ActionCFRPC Executive Director Patricia Steed stated, “Immediate access to the internet and digital information is the key infrastructure test for successful counties moving forward. Broadband Polk suggests the vision that every individual, corporation, non-profit, visitor, government entity, and community partner in Polk County has access to affordable high-speed internet service. This project brought awareness to the importance of robust broadband infrastructure and we continue to work alongside those that are making strides to bring comprehensive broadband to their communities.”

Currently the City of Lakeland is undergoing the development of a Strategic Broadband Plan, while The City of Bartow and The City of Winter Haven have undertaken broadband initiatives since the completion of the plan in June of 2013.

broadband_polk_planDr. Eileen Holden, President of Polk State College and former Polk Vision Chair stated, “Affordable access to high-speed broadband creates opportunity, innovation and efficiency across all major economic sectors including education, healthcare, logistics, research and technology, and more. It’s an essential part of the 21st Century community.”

Involving Polk County citizens, business leaders, civic organizations, non-profits, educational institutions, economic development professionals, high tech experts, and key representatives from various segments of the local economy, the plan was facilitated by Polk Vision and the Central Florida Regional Planning Council. The award winning project led to the development of a broadband planning toolbox and training manual, now available to train and assist other local and regional organizations in Florida and throughout the nation how to engage in effective and meaningful broadband planning efforts.

The award was presented on June 9 at NARC’s 49th annual conference and exhibition in Raleigh, NC. “We are thrilled to announce this year’s achievement and leadership awards,” said NARC Immediate Past President Gary Moore, Judge Executive, Boone County, KY. “Our members, leaders, and nominees work hard to improve their communities every day. We thank our regions for their dedication and exceptional efforts made over the past year, and can’t wait to see what new and exciting initiatives are on the horizon.”

To learn more about Broadband Polk, visit

View the Polk County Broadband Plan

View additional awards presented to CFRPC