FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office of the Governor
January 8, 2004
Governor Fletcher Unveils connectkentucky Progress Report
connectkentucky Calls Information Technology Imperative Vital to Economic Recovery
(Frankfort, KY.) Governor Fletcher announced today the progress made on the connectkentucky initiative amid representatives from the public-private partnership and the legislature in the Capitol Rotunda. The indicators for business and local government are encouraging; but the lack of availability and the relative high cost of high-speed Internet access in the rural areas of the Commonwealth have the potential to create a long-term economic disparity.
“This research, action plan, and progress report is critical to Kentucky’s ability to excel in the New Economy and I applaud the work of the connectkentucky Steering Committee and their outstanding Co-Chairmen John Hall and Bill Brundage for identifying the gaps,” said Governor Fletcher. “As we look for ways to facilitate economic growth, it is clear that technology adoption will play a vital role in the transformation of the Commonwealth. Expanding broadband statewide is critical for Kentucky. It is especially important to include rural areas in broadband connection. The Information Superhighway is as important as interstate highways in the new economy."
“Companies without best-in-class information technology are not competitive in today’s economy,” according to John Hall, retired Chairman and CEO of Ashland Inc. “We are
encouraged that the report released today shows that use of computer technology by
businesses rose 10 percentage points from 2002 to 2003. Broadband deployment and access to new internet content and opportunities will provide many prospects for business and consumers.”
The connectkentucky Report 2003, Kentucky’s Information Technology Imperative, highlights the economic and cultural transformation that is taking place within Kentucky and across the globe. Some 2 million Kentuckians are using the internet regularly, and spent an estimated $894 million shopping online in 2002. The presence of company Web sites and e-mail use rose significantly.
Overall nearly four out of five Kentucky businesses or organizations use computers for business tasks or purposes. Presently, State government has more than 140 online services. Based on recent studies,* it is estimated that full-scale broadband deployment could potentially create 14,000 jobs and add more than $5 Billion to the Gross State Product (GSP) in Kentucky. The studies cite broadband deployment as the next step to creating a new networked economy.
According to the connectkentucky report just released, the majority of all Kentucky adults (63%) surveyed feel online or electronic access to government information and services should be a high priority.
“I am very encouraged that rural communities and their citizens are beginning to understand that it is a well-grounded information technology strategy that will create jobs in their communities for the future,” said Dr. Linda Johnson, President & CEO at CITE (the Center for Information Technology Enterprise, Inc.) A willingness to address these issues and embrace broadband deployment by eliminating regulatory barriers will certainly help build the next-generation network and translate into job-growth for Kentuckians.”
Highlighted in the report are cities such as Campbellsville, where a wireless network was installed, to ensure that both existing and new businesses have the Internet connectivity needed to compete in the global market.
“We know that information technology is revolutionizing what we learn and how we learn it, where and how we work, and how we create prosperity.” said Dr. Bill Brundage, Commissioner of the Office for the New Economy. “Our aim to create dynamic companies and job opportunities throughout the Commonwealth is directly linked to information technologies and ideas that support an entrepreneurial climate. The availability and affordability of the network infrastructure statewide plays a key role.”
In an effort to profile innovative technology use in each of Kentucky’s 120 counties, the connectkentucky partnership recently funded an initiative called KY 120,. The intent of KY 120 is to raise public awareness of the opportunities provided through technology by recognizing that best practices can be studied and emulated. These examples can be found at www.ky120.com.
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connectkentucky is a public-private partnership between Kentucky’s Office for the New Economy, private industry, Kentucky's universities and CITE (the Center for Information Technology Enterprise, Inc.). connectkentucky’s industry partners currently include: Alltel (NYSE: AT), Bank One (NYSE: ONE), Belcan, Bellsouth (NYSE: BLS), Cincinnati Bell (NYSE: CBB), CSX (NYSE: CSX), Humana (NYSE: HUM), Insight Communications (NASDAQ: ICCI), Leapfrog, Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT), Qwest (NYSE: Q), Toyota (NYSE: TM), USEC (NYSE: USU), and Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM).
CITE, the program leader of connectkentucky, is a contract research and consulting enterprise that provides information technology strategy and policy planning to business, government, and educational institutions around the globe. For more information, go to www.citeinc.com or call John Higgins at 270-781-4320 ext. 23.
*TeleNomic Research, February 25, 2002 and Criterion Economics LLC, September 23, 2003 are available at http://www.newmillenniumresearch.org/archive/