Virginia Gov. Announces Broadband Roundtable

Our challenge is to find innovative ways to connect even more businesses to that network at the most affordable cost possible.

by / June 13, 2007
Governor Timothy M. Kaine today announced the formation of a Broadband Roundtable charged with developing a "last-mile" telecommunications blueprint for advancing his goal of ensuring broadband access for every Virginia business. The Roundtable, to be led by former Governor Mark Warner and Virginia Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra, will be supported by national expert Dr. Ted Rappaport and Karen Jackson, Director of the Commonwealth's Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance.

"Broadband access is a priority for my administration, and we intend to build on the successes of the Warner Administration, which worked to install 700 miles of broadband in our rural communities," Governor Kaine said. "Today, our challenge is to find innovative ways to connect even more businesses to that network at the most affordable cost possible. That is why I've tapped former Governor Mark Warner to help lead this endeavor."

During his term in office, Governor Warner helped create, fund, and build open access fiber-optic networks throughout Southside and Southwest Virginia.  In Southside alone, the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative (MBC) backbone connects four cities, 20 counties, and 56 industrial parks.  MBC provides affordable, high-speed Internet access to last-mile service providers that ultimately reach nearly 700,000 citizens and more than 19,000 businesses in rural parts of the state.

"The promise of the 21st century lies in the ability to connect to the rest of the world, and I am honored that Governor Kaine has asked me to co-chair the Broadband Roundtable," Warner said. "We have made tremendous strides in laying the fiber-optic backbone for the Commonwealth, but now we must find a way for every business in Virginia to have the resources necessary to compete in the global economy."

Roundtable members will include leaders from state and local government, business, and education, and announcement of additional members will be made soon.

Dr. Rappaport, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Texas now residing in Chatham, Virginia, will provide consulting support to the Roundtable. From 1988 to 2002, he was on the electrical and computer engineering faculty of Virginia Tech, where he founded the Mobile and Portable Radio Research Group (MPRG), one of the world's first university research and teaching centers dedicated to the wireless communications field. An accomplished entrepreneur, Dr. Rappaport founded TSR Technologies, Inc. and Wireless Valley Communications, Inc.

"Professor Rappaport has a strong national reputation in the wireless industry and a genuine fondness for rural Virginia. I appreciate his and other Roundtable members' willingness to lend their time and expertise to this important issue," Governor Kaine said.  "The information we obtain through this process will be invaluable to solving the