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Digital Divide Information

From: Lane Ralph
Date: 2/6/00
Time: 9:02:01 PM
Remote Name: 208.15.79.152

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Fyi Thought this information would be of interest to you on the Digital Divide hearing held yesterday in the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Lane Ralph

RELEASE ONE

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman Dick Lugar, U.S. Senator for Indiana Contact: Andy Fisher 202-224-2079 or Tiffany Steele 202-224-7435 Date: 2/3/00 http://www.senate.gov/~agriculture andy_fisher@lugar.senate.gov tiffany_steele@lugar.senate.gov ______________________________________________________________________ ____________

Lugar Opening Statement on Rural TV Loan Guarantee, Digital Divide

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, Chairman of the, delivered the following statement today at a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing on rural television loan guarantees and the digital divide in rural America:

Today the Senate Agriculture Committee is holding a hearing on two related issues. The first is an examination of a proposal that would create a loan guarantee program to provide low cost money to satellite and cable systems to help them deliver local broadcast stations to viewers in rural America. The second issue is the looming presence of the digital divide in rural America.

Rural communities face a number of unique barriers in the realm of telecommunications. Small-scale, low-density settlement patterns make it costly to deliver these types of services to rural Americans. Even when the technology is available, as in the case of satellite television, issues of access still arise due to the cost constraints inherent in serving a population that is so often remote from the economic centers of urban America.

Just as the disparity in access to local television signals for rural Americans is problematic, the disparity in access to telephones, personal computers and Internet access between rural and urban areas is likewise troubling.

A recent U.S. Department of Commerce report shows that regardless of income level, Americans living in rural areas are lagging behind in Internet access and even when holding income constant, Americans living in rural areas are less likely to be connected by personal computers. Low-income, young and certain minority households in rural America are the least connected to the information highway.

This digital divide contributes to the problems facing economic development in rural America. Rural America is an important source of income, wealth, and well-being for our nation. The rural regions of the United States contain 83 percent of the nation's land and are home to 21 percent of Americans.

Rural America can gain access to some opportunities only by connecting to the information highway. By creating necessary linkages to manufacturers and other businesses in a region, small towns and cities will be more able to attract entrepreneurs. Therefore, telecommunications infrastructure is an important foundation for job creation in rural America.

The information highway offers rural America an unprecedented opportunity to compete on an equal footing with big cities and with other countries. Access to the information network is already bringing jobs, education, and health care services to rural areas and bringing rural Americans more fully into the mainstream of the American economy and culture. Yet there is also a danger that some parts of rural America-- which already have lower incomes and lower education levels than the rest of America-- lack access to "on-line" resources and will fall even further behind the rest of the country.

This hearing will look at reasons for this disparity in rural America as well as hear testimony on the various ways to solve the problem.

Our first panel will focus on the rural satellite televison issue. We will hear testimony from two administration witnesses, Mr. Chris McLean, the Acting Administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service and Mr. Greg Rhode, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the Department of Commerce's Nation Telecommunications and Information Administration. Next we will hear from James May, the Executive Vice President for Government Relations with the National Association of Broadcasters. We will hear from Dave Parkhill, the General Manager of the Hamilton County Telephone Cooperative located in Dahlgren, Illinois and from John Hutchison, LTVS, Inc. from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Our second panel will focus on the more general issue of the digital divide in rural America. Dr. Stephen J. Jay, M.D.,Chairman of the Department of Public Health and Associate Dean for Continuing Medical Education at the Indiana University School of of Medicine will join Mr. McLean, Mr. Rhode and Mr. Parkhill for that discussion.

I welcome each of you to the Committee and thank you for agreeing to testify. # # #

RELEASE TWO

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman Dick Lugar, U.S. Senator for Indiana Contact: Andy Fisher 202-224-2079 or Tiffany Steele 202-224-7435 Date: 2/3/00 http://www.senate.gov/~agriculture andy_fisher@lugar.senate.gov tiffany_steele@lugar.senate.gov ______________________________________________________________________ ____________

Lugar Opening Statement on Rural TV Loan Guarantee, Digital Divide

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, Chairman of the, delivered the following statement today at a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing on rural television loan guarantees and the digital divide in rural America:

Today the Senate Agriculture Committee is holding a hearing on two related issues. The first is an examination of a proposal that would create a loan guarantee program to provide low cost money to satellite and cable systems to help them deliver local broadcast stations to viewers in rural America. The second issue is the looming presence of the digital divide in rural America.

Rural communities face a number of unique barriers in the realm of telecommunications. Small-scale, low-density settlement patterns make it costly to deliver these types of services to rural Americans. Even when the technology is available, as in the case of satellite television, issues of access still arise due to the cost constraints inherent in serving a population that is so often remote from the economic centers of urban America.

Just as the disparity in access to local television signals for rural Americans is problematic, the disparity in access to telephones, personal computers and Internet access between rural and urban areas is likewise troubling.

A recent U.S. Department of Commerce report shows that regardless of income level, Americans living in rural areas are lagging behind in Internet access and even when holding income constant, Americans living in rural areas are less likely to be connected by personal computers. Low-income, young and certain minority households in rural America are the least connected to the information highway.

This digital divide contributes to the problems facing economic development in rural America. Rural America is an important source of income, wealth, and well-being for our nation. The rural regions of the United States contain 83 percent of the nation's land and are home to 21 percent of Americans.

Rural America can gain access to some opportunities only by connecting to the information highway. By creating necessary linkages to manufacturers and other businesses in a region, small towns and cities will be more able to attract entrepreneurs. Therefore, telecommunications infrastructure is an important foundation for job creation in rural America.

The information highway offers rural America an unprecedented opportunity to compete on an equal footing with big cities and with other countries. Access to the information network is already bringing jobs, education, and health care services to rural areas and bringing rural Americans more fully into the mainstream of the American economy and culture. Yet there is also a danger that some parts of rural America-- which already have lower incomes and lower education levels than the rest of America-- lack access to "on-line" resources and will fall even further behind the rest of the country.

This hearing will look at reasons for this disparity in rural America as well as hear testimony on the various ways to solve the problem.

Our first panel will focus on the rural satellite televison issue. We will hear testimony from two administration witnesses, Mr. Chris McLean, the Acting Administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service and Mr. Greg Rhode, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information at the Department of Commerce's Nation Telecommunications and Information Administration. Next we will hear from James May, the Executive Vice President for Government Relations with the National Association of Broadcasters. We will hear from Dave Parkhill, the General Manager of the Hamilton County Telephone Cooperative located in Dahlgren, Illinois and from John Hutchison, LTVS, Inc. from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Our second panel will focus on the more general issue of the digital divide in rural America. Dr. Stephen J. Jay, M.D.,Chairman of the Department of Public Health and Associate Dean for Continuing Medical Education at the Indiana University School of of Medicine will join Mr. McLean, Mr. Rhode and Mr. Parkhill for that discussion.

I welcome each of you to the Committee and thank you for agreeing to testify. # # #


Revised: January 20, 2006