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Posted on: October 20, 2010

Kansas Department of Commerce to host Kansas Broadband Summit in Wichita

WICHITA - The Kansas Department of Commerce will host the Kansas Broadband Summit - a first-of-its-kind gathering of industry, government and civic leaders to discuss Kansas’ broadband Internet landscape - Oct. 24-25 at the Wichita Marriot.

The Kansas Broadband Summit will provide a venue for discussion of broadband’s implication on healthcare, education, economic development, government service and related areas; and to continue development of a strategy for how Kansas will foster statewide availability and adoption of broadband services. The Summit will feature nearly 30 scheduled speakers, including:

- Lt. Governor Troy Findley

- Sharon Gillett, Bureau Chief, Wireline Competition, Federal Communications Commission

- David Villano, Assistant Administrator, USDA Rural Utilities Service

The Summit will also feature the launch of BroadbandStat, the first-ever interactive map of Kansas detailing broadband data from nearly every corner of the state. Once launched, the online tool will allow all Kansans to research broadband connectivity in their area, making it an incredibly powerful tool for business and industry leaders, government officials, policymakers and consumers.

The Summit is the next major component of the Connect Kansas initiative, a Kansas Department of Commerce effort to increase broadband Internet availability and adoption in the state’s underserved and un-served areas. Launched in December 2009, the initiative is funded through the federal Recovery Act, which has invested $7.2 billion to help states undertake broadband expansion efforts to ensure all citizens can access the economic and quality-of-life benefits of high-speed Internet.

“In today’s digital age, broadband Internet is no longer just a luxury. Rather, it’s an essential infrastructure that ultimately leads to economic growth, enhanced government and medical services, new educational opportunities and countless other quality-of-life improvements,” said Governor Mark Parkinson. “That’s why I’m excited about the dialogue that’s going to take place at this summit as we continue to increase broadband availability and adoption in our state’s un-served and under-served communities.”

The Connect Kansas initiative has two components: 1) mapping Kansas’ broadband capacity, as well as related planning; and 2) providing federal grants and loans to Kansas businesses and organizations undertaking broadband expansion projects. So far, the State of Kansas has been awarded $6.4 million for the mapping and planning component, while nine Kansas companies and organizations have been awarded more than $147 million in Recovery Act grants and loans to expand broadband Internet infrastructure.

For a complete Summit itinerary, including a list of speakers and workshops, visit www.connectkansas.org.

Covering the Summit

Print and broadcast media are invited to cover all portions of the Broadband Summit and interview speakers and attendees. Media are asked to sign in at the registration table and ask for Joe Monaco, Public Information Officer with the Kansas Department of Commerce.

If you are not attending the Summit but want to write/broadcast a preview of it, we can arrange for you to interview attendees from your part of the state in the days leading up to the Summit.

For more information, visit www.connectkansas.org or contact Joe Monaco, Public Information Officer with the Kansas Department of Commerce, at (785) 296-3760 or jmonaco@kansascommerce.com.

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