Serving DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee and Polk Counties

Toolkit and Training Manual

The Central Florida Regional Planning Council, in partnership with the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, has received a grant from the State Department of Management Services to develop a broadband toolkit and training manual.  The broadband toolkit will contain all the databases, surveys, models, and other tools necessary to assess broadband demand and create a strategic broadband plan.  The broadband toolkit will also be applicable to any community or region, rural, suburban or urban.  The broadband training manual will be developed and will guide community leaders and stakeholders through the planning process, providing instruction as to the use and applicability of the broadband toolkit.

Broadband Polk

Broadband Polk is a collaborative effort 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. Facilitated cooperatively by Polk Vision and the Central Florida Regional Planning Council, the Broadband Polk Advisory Committee is working to raise awareness of the importance of robust broadband infrastructure in the 21st century economy and to develop a comprehensive broadband plan to address the current and future broadband needs for Polk County. For additional information, please take a moment to view/download a copy of the Polk County Broadband Plan, a Broadband Polk Trifold Brochure and the informational video below.

Broadband Demand Model

As part of a regional broadband planning project, the Central Florida Regional Planning Council has developed a draft model to predict broadband demand in the year 2020 by producing a weighted broadband demand score for all of Polk County. The weighted score is a number between 0 and 5, where 0 indicates the lowest broadband demand and 1 indicates the highest demand. The model inputs are future land use, projections of population and employment, and estimates of current broadband penetration.

The model equation is as follows: B = E + P + F + C


  • B is the broadband demand score (a number between 0 and 5).
  • E is the percentile rank of projected employment per square mile in 2020 for each TAZ. There are 621 TAZs in Polk County. This model ranks them according to their projected employment density in 2020, then assigns a percentile value (i.e. a number between 0 and 1) to each TAZ. The TAZs projected to have the highest employment density are in the 99th percentile, and thus receive a score of 0.99.
  • P is the percentile rank of projected population per square mile in 2020 for each TAZ, calculated in the same manner as E.
  • F is a future land use score intended to give greater weight to future land uses that are considered likely to have more intensive broadband needs. This score is either 0, 1, or 2. Polk County and the municipalities therein have approximately 150 different future land use categories in total; these have been generalized, using a methodology previously developed by the Central Florida Regional Planning Council and based on the State of Florida’s generalized future land use categories, to produce a geographic dataset depicting 17 generalized future land use categories for Polk County.

Finally, in order to produce a weighted score for a given county or region, a percentile ranking is generated for the original broadband demand scores (B) of all the geographic units. This percentile ranking is the final Weighted Broadband Demand Score.

GIS Analysis Procedure

Polk County Broadband GIS Map

The following geographic datasets were used:

  • Polk County parcels
  • Polk County Traffic Analysis Zones, with projections of population and employment for 2020, and percentile ranks of each TAZ’s population and employment (percentile ranks were produced in Excel and joined to the existing TAZ feature class)
  • Polk County Generalized Future Land Use (created by the Central Florida Regional Planning Council; see Appendix A for a full description of this dataset) joined to the future land use score table above
  • Census tracts joined to FCC broadband coverage data

The following steps were taken to produce the final Weighted Broadband Demand Score dataset:

  1. In ESRI ArcGIS, perform a spatial join with the parcel layer as the target feature class and TAZs as the join feature class. The join operation is “Join one to one” and the match option is “Closest.” All target features are retained. No search radius is specified.
  2. Union the resulting dataset to the Generalized Future Land Use feature class, using an XY tolerance of 10 feet to avoid producing very small features.
  3. Union the resulting dataset to a census tract level dataset indicating the number of fixed broadband connections per 1000 households (FCC data listed under “Form 477 Filers by State”). Use an XY tolerance of 10 feet.
  4. Clip the dataset to the boundaries of the parcel layer to produce a clean parcel-level dataset.
  5. Dissolve the resulting dataset at the level of the Parcel ID field, so that there is one record per parcel.
  6. Clean up dataset as necessary (there may be extraneous fields).
  7. Add and calculate a new field B = E + P + F + C in the resulting dataset.
  8. The percentile ranking can be calculated and displayed in the final map.