December 5, 2001
Office of the Chief Counsel
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Room 4713 HCHB
1401 Constitution Ave., NW,
Washington, DC 20230
Re: [Docket No. 011109273-1273-01]
Notice, Request for Comments on Deployment of Broadband Networks and Advanced Telecommunications
On behalf of the Georgia Rural Development Council, I am pleased to submit the attached report to comment on Questions C and D. This report makes the case that more policy focus is needed on the demand side of broadband telecommunications. In Georgia, the ILECs, CLECs, cable companies, wireless providers, and municipalities have made efforts to accelerate deployment of broadband services. While some would like to see broadband Internet access occur at a faster rate, the best available data we have shows that not enough residents, businesses, and local governments are using basic digital (or even analog) services.
We would like to see greater efforts at the federal level to emphasize policies that could help stimulate demand. These might include:
1. A network of assistance programs much like the agricultural extension program. We are piloting such a program, called TechSmart, in Georgia. The program employs specialists with telecommunications industry experience in information technology demonstration centers outside major metropolitan areas to help communities and industries assess, learn about, and develop applications to leverage broadband telecommunications infrastructure to promote economic development.
2. An emphasis on initiatives that would stimulate more broadband applications.
3. Efforts to expand the resources to inform and educate residents, businesses, and local governments in the use of such applications.
We appreciate the NTIAís interest in broadband deployment and look forward to your continuing as active a role on the demand side as you have on the supply side.† If you have any questions regarding these comments, please contact Jan Youtie of the Georgia Rural Development Councilís Technical Advisory Committee.† She can be reached at the following:
††††††††††††††††††††††† Jan Youtie, Ph.D., Principal Research Associate
Georgia Tech Economic Development Institute
††††††††††††††††††††††† Center for Economic Development Services
††††††††††††††††††††††† 205 OíKeefe Building
††††††††††††††††††††††† Atlanta, GA† 30332-0640
††††††††††††††††††††††† 404-894-0069 Fax
Thank you for your attention to these comments.
Att:† †††† The State of Rural IT
CC:† ††† Susan Hart Ridley, Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Georgia
††††††††††† Martha McDaniel, Georgia Rural Development Council