Governor Fletcher Announces New ConnectKentucky Partners

Press Release Date:  Thursday, May 25, 2006  
Contact Information:  Kasey Joyner

Frankfort, KY: Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today the addition of four companies to the ConnectKentucky partnership. With this addition, ConnectKentucky now has 40 partners.  New partners include ESRI, Keane, The Lane Report and WildBlue.  The companies represent distinct areas of the technology sector including: software consulting, business strategies, media and wireless network infrastructure.  The addition of these partners will provide ConnectKentucky with an even more comprehensive perspective on technology development and adoption issues.

"The addition of these companies to the ConnectKentucky partnership is a testament to the progress being made by this important public-private partnership,” said Governor Fletcher. “The future success of Kentucky’s economy will depend largely on our ability to grow, attract and retain technology-based businesses. The continued growth of the ConnectKentucky partnership and the swift progress of the Prescription for Innovation are good indicators that we are on the right track.”

ESRI was founded as Environmental Systems Research Institute in 1969 as a consulting firm that specialized in land use analysis projects.  ESRI has evolved to the largest research and development organization dedicated to GIS (Geographic Information Systems) by focusing on its user community. Today, ESRI employs more than 2,900 staff, more than 1,500 of whom are based in Redlands, California, at the world headquarters. The company's focus remains on producing excellent software and delivering exceptional service to users for the collection, analysis and communication of geographic information.

Keane is a business and IT services firm that delivers application and business process services to help clients reduce costs, enhance organizational flexibility, and improve their business and IT performance.  Founded in 1965, the global consulting firm offers services and a holistic approach to business processes.  Keane's comprehensive support delivers rapid and compelling business value to their clients.

The Lane Report is the leading media source of business information for and about Kentucky.  Started in 1986 as a newsletter, the monthly magazine distributes to every Kentucky county, reaching more than 80,000 business professionals.  Throughout the year, The Lane Report focuses on the ever-changing economic impact of such industries as banking, tourism, education and equine.

WildBlue Communications, Inc. was established to provide broadband service to consumers and small offices in rural areas and small cities including the estimated 10-15 million homes and small offices that cannot access DSL or cable based Internet sources.  WildBlue delivers affordable two-way broadband Internet access via satellite to virtually any home and small business in the contiguous United States. WildBlue service does not require cable or phone lines.  WildBlue's mission is to make affordable broadband Internet access available to everyone.

Kentucky's Prescription for Innovation is a comprehensive plan to accelerate technology growth, particularly in the areas of broadband deployment and adoption.  The initiative maintains four key tenants for impacting statewide economic development:

  • Full broadband deployment by the end of 2007;
  • Dramatically improved use of computers and the Internet by all Kentuckians; 
  • A meaningful online presence for all Kentucky communities, to improve citizen services and promote economic development through e-government, virtual education and online healthcare; and
  • Local technology leadership teams in every community to develop and implement technology growth strategies for local government, business and industry, education, healthcare, agriculture, libraries, tourism and community-based organizations.

Since the inception of the Prescription for Innovation, statewide broadband availability and usage have increased by 33% and 45% respectively. An estimated 300,000 previously unserved households can now access broadband as private sector investment in telecommunications infrastructure has reached an unprecedented level in Kentucky. Home computer ownership has grown by 17% and more than 100 counties are actively engaged in the eCommunity Leadership process to establish a nine sector technology growth plan for accelerating technology locally.  Moreover, the rate of Kentucky’s high-tech job growth is outpacing the national average.

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About ConnectKentucky: ConnectKentucky is leading the way into a new economy for Kentuckians. As Kentucky’s technology-based economic development partnership, ConnectKentucky is a public-private alliance of leaders from private industry, government and education. By leveraging the latest in technology and networking, ConnectKentucky is ensuring Kentucky remains the place of choice to work, live and raise a family. For more information visit