DATE: February 22, 2011
GOV. BARBOUR AND JIM BARKSDALE INTRODUCE THE MISSISSIPPI BROADBAND CONNECT COALITION AT INAUGURAL PUBLIC MEETING
Gov. Haley Barbour and Jim Barksdale opened the Inaugural Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition (MBCC) meeting today in Jackson. The gathering kicks off the second phase of a state wide effort to increase broadband adoption and availability. The first phase produced a statewide broadband map and website, www.mbcc.ms. The MBCC will generate recommendations for improving broadband usage in various areas of the state's economy, such as health IT, workforce development, and education.
Broadband Internet is already being used by industries and organizations across the state for video conferencing, online learning/job training, and media services. However, Mississippi lags behind the national average in broadband usage. Gov. Barbour adds, "Broadband Internet will be one of the key economic drivers of the 21st century. By increasing the access and use of broadband, the MBCC will ensure that Mississippi's economy can grow, creating jobs and reaping economic benefits in all parts of the state."
MBCC Chair Jim Barksdale, the former CEO and President of Netscape, stresses the social and educational impact that broadband can create. "Broadband availability will allow innovation in online learning and telemedicine, two resources that are growing in importance," says Barksdale. "Access to broadband across the state will lead both to economic opportunity and enhanced quality of life for all Mississippians."
The MBCC is composed of over 150 industry leaders, community representatives, and broadband end-users from around the state. These leaders will work on eight committees focused on issues related to broadband access, availability, education, workforce development, as well as the use of broadband technology in health care and government. Two committees will also focus on the specific considerations relating to broadband access and usage in the Delta and Choctaw reservation areas. During 2011, these groups will create targeted recommendations for their areas of study. These recommendations will be used by the MBCC to develop a strategy for broadband development and use in Mississippi.
The MBCC is a statewide 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization devoted to identifying and increasing Mississippi's digital literacy rates. The MBCC is funded by a grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
To learn more about the MBCC, please visit mbcc.ms or find us on Facebook and Twitter.
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