CenturyLink and the U.S. Census—You Can Count on It!
Frankly, I’m not usually there when our postal carrier arrives at my home, but these are unusual times, and this was an unusual piece of mail—a sky blue letter urging me to do something that had never been done before. For the first time in history, Americans can fill out their U.S. Census form online.
History in the Making
Last year, the U.S. Census Bureau selected CenturyLink to provide a fast and secure link between an online questionnaire and the cloud service storing those responses.
The project takes on even greater importance in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has sidelined door-to-door household visits by census takers, a practice dating back to George Washington. As a result, the collection deadline this year has been extended from the end of July to the middle of August.
Governments have been counting their citizens since ancient times, mostly as a way to make sure everyone paid their taxes. For example, a census was collected by the Normans after they conquered England.
The U.S. Census, on the other hand, has a completely different purpose. It wants to know how many people live in individual states to determine political representation on a federal, state, and local level. It also helps Congress figure out how much money in taxes it should return back to communities in the form of federal aid.
The Decennial Census is the nation’s largest peacetime mobilization effort, and I’m proud that thousands of CenturyLink employees all across the United States have joined forces with the bureau to raise awareness of the 2020 Census and encourage participation.
A Heritage of Innovation
The Census Bureau has a rich history for finding innovative ways to collect data. In the 19th century, one of its employees, Herman Hollerith, invented a punch-card based, electronic tabulating machine as a faster and cheaper alternative to hand-counting.
Hollerith later founded a company around this new technology, which after several mergers, evolved into a business familiar to all of us–IBM. In the 1950s, the Census Bureau became one of the first civilian government agencies to purchase a computer (known as the UNIVAC) to tabulate the data.
That tradition of innovation and transformation continues with the bureau’s partnership with CenturyLink. As a leading provider of Managed Trusted Internet Protocol Services or MTIPS, we offer government agencies a highly secure, reliable and scalable infrastructure designed to detect and defend networks against cyberattacks.
It took a lot of planning to design a proposal to support the 125 million households expected to fill out the census survey online. To ensure a fast and reliable connection, we’re utilizing eastern and western points of presence that support speeds starting at 40 gigabits a second. That’s part of our commitment to serve the mission, while showcasing the bureau’s IT modernization efforts.
So far, people seem to like this new online method for completing their census survey. I certainly did. It was fast and easy to do. I encourage you to do so too by visiting www.my2020census.gov. I’m sure we can “count on you” to complete your civic duty with so much at stake.