Kentucky Connected - Part One

By: Fida Georges Email
By: Fida Georges Email

Connect Kentucky is a non-profit partnership that supports technology based development in the state, and was recently honored with the National Excellence in Innovation Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Just over the last two years, broadband usage in Kentucky has grown at a rate of 45 percent. This means that 429,000 households can access broadband that couldn't in 2004.

Connect Kentucky was formed in 2001, but it wasn't until Governor Fletcher's 2004 Prescription for Innovation that broadband expansion put Kentucky on the map.

Mark McElroy, vice president of Operations and Communications, said this availability presents unprecedented opportunities in work, education and health for future Kentuckians.

McElroy also said the increased availability of broadband will make more people want to live, work and raise a family here in Kentucky. He hopes it will also put an end to what many refer to as Kentucky's brain drain.

According to McElroy, the days of depending on traditional forms of revenue are no longer going to be available to the degree they have been in our past. Since October 2000, 42,000 traditional manufacturing jobs have left Kentucky. Meanwhile, in the last year alone, broadband availability has created 5,640 high tech jobs. That number is expected to exceed 15,000 by the end of next year.

Connect Kentucky said they are not advocating an end to traditional jobs, but a better way of performing them.

For example a cattle farmer with broadband availability will have immediate access to the same crucial market knowledge as anyone else in the country. With the right set up, that same farmer could access that information from his tractor in the field.

Broadband availability in essence helps smaller rural communities gain independence in areas such as education and health care. Rural schools will now be able to offer advance programs to their students at a fraction of the cost.

According to Connect Kentucky, broadband also provides solutions to one of the biggest problems facing Kentucky, the affordability and access to quality health care. Smaller clinics and mobile medical units will be able to offer many of the services previously available only in larger cities.

To learn more about Connect Kentucky projects and how they help support the growth and economic development of technology in Kentucky, log onto click here.

And for more information on Connect Kentucky, visit their website at www.connectkentucky.org.


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