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Coalition makes recommendations for promoting broadband usage

JACKSON — The Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition has issued recommendations for improving access to high-speed Internet and encouraging digital literacy. These recommendations are the culmination of almost a year of study and meetings by stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

The Coalition also is partnering with the newly created Connect to Compete, a national private-nonprofit partnership led by One Economy Corporation that seeks to promote broadband adoption in America. Connect to Compete will implement a digital literacy program in the Mississippi Delta.

Recommendations include extending the broadband technology tax credit, establishing a state computer donation program, supporting the expansion of the Mississippi Wireless Information Network and allowing public schools and universities to lease fiber.

The Coalition also will work with Connect to Compete, which was established by the Federal Communications Commission earlier this year. The program offers digital literacy training through company like Best Buy and Microsoft.

Connect to Compete will establish its first program in the Delta region in 2012.

Gov. Haley Barbour created the Mississippi Broadband Task Force to coordinate statewide efforts on broadband Internet policy. In September 2010, the state received funds to develop the Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition, a non-profit public-private partnership focused on producing a comprehensive statewide strategic plan for improving digital literacy, increasing access to broadband and enabling greater adoption of broadband in the state.

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