ConnectKentucky to Lead Improvements in Broadband Access and Computer Use
Owensboro, KY – Governor Ernie Fletcher unveiled today his “Prescription for Innovation: Delivering Broadband Technology for a 21st Century Kentucky,” that will provide broadband (high-speed Internet) access to all Kentuckians and by 2007. The announcement was made at the 75th Annual Kentucky League of Cities Convention held at the Executive Inn Rivermont in Owensboro.
Governor Fletcher’s Prescription for Innovation is a comprehensive broadband deployment and adoption plan that will leverage state, federal and private investment to blanket Kentucky with high-speed Internet access. The initiative will encourage citizen use of computers and the Internet, and provide every Kentucky community with an online presence for improving citizen services and promoting economic development.
The Governor’s initiative will produce the most sophisticated telecommunications inventory map in the nation, using advanced satellite mapping technology and grassroots data collection. The maps will not only illustrate service gaps, but will serve as an economic development resource for communities to illustrate existing infrastructure for locating companies. Additionally, the initiative will mobilize local leadership teams in each community and produce community-specific implementation plans to empower local leaders and increase citizen demand for expanding broadband technology.
Kentucky ranks 44th in the proportion of high-tech businesses; 45th in residential computer use; and 43rd in residential Internet use in comparison to neighboring states.
Governor Fletcher remarked, “There is an increasingly large gap between those who have technology and those who do not. Kentucky remains on the wrong side of this digital divide. While Internet access on its own is not a silver bullet solution for prosperity, adequate access to the global marketplace through broadband infrastructure enables knowledge-based economic development and has the ability to enhance the lives of our citizens and businesses. The future of our economy depends on our success and we owe it to our children to deliver.”
ConnectKentucky will lead this grassroots initiative, bringing together community leaders and citizens to identify applications and support the build-out of infrastructure necessary to provide better government services, improved educational opportunities, healthcare access and an expanded marketplace for local businesses. ConnectKentucky Co-Chairs, Governor’s Office for Local Development Commissioner Darrell Brock, Commerce Cabinet Secretary Jim Host, and retired Ashland Inc. Chairman John Hall are charged with leading the initiative.
Based on recently published studies*, it is estimated that full-scale broadband deployment could create 14,000 jobs and add more than $5 billion to the Gross State Product (GSP) in Kentucky.
ConnectKentucky is a technology-based economic development alliance which has gained national acclaim as a “best-practice” in new economy strategies, recognized in June 2004 as a finalist for the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s “Excellence in Innovation” award.
ConnectKentucky Partners currently include: Alltel (NYSE: AT), Appalachian Regional Commission, Belcan, Bellsouth (NYSE: BLS), Center for Rural Development, Cincinnati Bell (NYSE: CBB), Commonwealth Office of Technology, Commonwealth Industries (NASDAQ/NML CMIN), CSX (NYSE: CSX), East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Humana (NYSE: HUM), JP MorganChase (NYSE: JPM), Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Kentucky League of Cities, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Net Tango, Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT), Northern Kentucky University, Qwest (NYSE: Q), Sygen International (London:SNI), Toyota (NYSE: TM), University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, USEC (NYSE: USU), Western Kentucky University and Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM).
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*TeleNomic Research, February 25, 2002 and Criterion Economics LLC, September 23, 2003 are available at http://www.newmillenniumresearch.org/archive/
Related Web sites:
Governor Fletcher’s Web site: www.governor.ky.gov