HAYS, KS -- U.S. Senator Sam Brownback will address the issue of broadband access at the 10th annual Telepower Conference at 9 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2001, at Fort Hays State University.
Brownback's presentation, "The New Economy's New Deal," will be in the Fort Hays Ballroom of the Memorial Union and will be broadcast through ITV. It addresses his newly introduced broadband legislation and its possible impact on rural communities.
Telepower, Sept. 26 and 27 this year, is a two-day conference sponsored by Fort Hays State's Docking Institute of Public Affairs and is designed to inform rural leaders how their communities can use information technology to improve the lives of their citizens in the areas of business, education, health care, government and economic development.
"The power of broadband will level the playing field between rural and urban communities in a global economy," said Brownback of legislation he has proposed. The Broadband Deployment and Competition Enhancement Act of 2001 and the Rural Broadband Deployment Act of 2001 were designed to increase the possibility of deploying broadband access throughout rural America.
"My objective is high-speed Internet access for everybody in America by 2007," said Brownback.
The deployment and competition act engages the incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) in a process which will offer broadband to all telephone exchange subscribers within five years as well as permitting the ILECs to compete on a larger competitive market.
The rural deployment act proposes a deregulation of ILEC broadband services but would limit deregulation to rural areas, which often fall between the cracks of undeveloped broadband connections, leaving them with either slow or very expensive access. This digital divide leaves many rural communities without the same online opportunities offered to urban residents.
This year's underwriting sponsors for Telepower include Southwestern Bell and Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation. The corporate sponsors are Rural Telephone, Information Network of Kansas, Garden City Information Technology Cooperative, Kansas Small Business Development Center, and Kansas Association of Counties.
Supportive sponsors include Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, Utilicorp United, WestLink Communications, Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing, Avaya Communication, Robert and Sheryl Cox, and Palm.
Other topics covered in this year's Telepower conference include electronic medical records, workforce development in the new economy, the economy's new deal, and IT access success stories.
For more information or to register to attend Telepower 2001, contact Cathy Drabkin at (785) 628-5952 or visit the Web site, www.fhsu.edu/docking/telepower.