Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Statewide Broadband for Tennessee?

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Last week, Governor Phil Bredesen took a step toward ensuring statewide high-speed Internet and video service with the creation of Connected Tennessee, a nonprofit organization designed to improve broadband access and use throughout the state.

According to Tennessee's 14-member Broadband Task Force, such access is "crucial to the state’s economic future, the health of its citizens, and the education of its children." The task force also recommends a public-private partnership for developing a plan to expand broadband availablity in a state where only one in four households has adopted it and which ranks 37th nationally in broadband usage.

State senator Roy Herron (D-Dresden) says Connected Tennessee will follow the model of ConnectKentucky, which raised broadband availability in that state to 90 percent. Comparing such availability in the 21st century to electrification programs that modernized rural America in the 20th century, the Task Force aims to identify underserved areas and take steps to fill the gaps.

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