Rural Telecon '06 in October

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has confirmed the participation of Dr. Carol Cain in this year’s Rural Telecommunications Congress Conference, October 22-25, 2006, at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock, AR. For those who might be unfamiliar with AHRQ they are the lead agency managing the Federal inventory of projects for the Department of Health and Human Services related to the transformation of the national healthcare system. In 2007 they will help disburse approximately $130 million in health information technology projects as well as another $300 million in other research areas that focus on health services, quality, patient safety, sustainability, etc. AHRQ's web site:

Rural Telecon '06 is exciting because it will help answer a critical question about community broadband:

How do we pay for it?

Participants will be able to return home being able to motivate change in economic/community development, healthcare, education, and telecommunications infrastructure. Open Access Service Provider community broadband initiatives are, in my opinion, the most exciting thing that has happened in telecom for communities since the early 90s.

For the first time ever, it is possible to develop a comprehensive cost and operations model for a community broadband system and show exactly what it will cost and how much revenue potential exists--and most importantly, to show how to pay for both initial investments and ongoing operational costs. Most importantly, open access networks energize the private sector and get government out of the telecom business, while maintaining community control of the infrastructure.

What is probably most exciting about Rural Telecon '06 is that it will present solutions that are just as valuable to urban settings as rural. Rural communities will have a chance to establish a leadership role in identifying how this future reliance on broadband telecommunications will play out.

More information about the conference is at the Rural Telecommunications Congress.

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