South Carolina committee studies statewide high speed access

In an effort to extend high speed Internet access state wide, South Carolina has formed The South Carolina Technology and Communications Study Committee to study the existing high speed Internet infrastructure and examine the need for high speed Internet in both unserved and underserved areas.

The 17-member committee, composed of lawmakers and citizens, will work to foster relationships between the public and private sectors. The committee has heard testimony from phone, cable and wireless companies, and it will also hear from schools and universities about their high speed needs.

Acting as an advisory committee to the General Assembly, the committee will report its findings from testimony as well from reviewing studies such as the recent report from Kentucky that found access to high speed Internet in rural areas is related to a local rise in college degrees.

"Internet access is an important part of economic development, education and people needing to communicate with one another," said state Sen. Brad Hutto, a member of the study committee formed in June. "We want to ensure the rural areas get the same opportunity to connect through the Internet through broadband as people who live in downtown Charleston and Greenville."

In addition to forming the committee, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has set aside $2 million to help connect rural areas with high speed Internet access. The money will be used to fund grants to match private sector investments in creating high speed Internet infrastructure in rural areas.

"We believe that to fully function in the 21st century, whether it is running a small business in a rural area or doing homework, people need access, and not just bare access, but fast access, to the Internet," Hutto said.

State looks to make broadband available in rural areas (The Times and Democrat)

The Potential of High Speed Internet Access (Speed Matters)

ConnectKentucky: A model for the rest of the country (Speed Matters)