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CONTACT: Patricia Van Gerpen, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201

FCC and PUC Commissioners to take Broadband Road Trip

The Broadband Road Trip will cross South Dakota August 24-25 with four commissioners:

Federal Communications Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and South Dakota's three Public Utilities Commissioners: Bob Sahr, Gary Hanson and Dustin Johnson.

"South Dakota has some terrific examples of entrepreneurs applying the most recent telecommunications technology to their businesses in order to compete in the global economy," said FCC Commissioner Adelstein, a Rapid City native. "Congress placed a high priority on rural concerns in the Telecommunications Act. We need to ensure that quality service at affordable rates is available to everyone in this country – whether they live in rural or urban areas."  

"The purpose of the trip is to highlight the importance of high-speed Internet to rural America and bring that perspective to the ongoing federal telecommunications policy debate," Commissioner Bob Sahr, who is leading the event, stated. "FCC Commissioner Adelstein is a great advocate for our state, and we want to give him first-hand examples of cutting-edge applications and what it means to South Dakota consumers."

Some major issues facing the FCC include Intercarrier Compensation Reform, Universal Service changes, and Voice-Over-Internet Protocol.

The event will spotlight various businesses as well as individuals in South Dakota that are applying the latest telecommunications technology to enhance their business. Stops include Sioux Falls, Mitchell, Groton, Kennebec, Pierre, Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, Philip and Deadwood.

"The businesses visited will vary from a family-owned telephone company, a tribal owned telephone company, a livestock sales barn doing Internet sales, and historic Deadwood whose businesses are promoting tourism via the Web - capitalizing on the cable TV show with the same name," Commissioner Dustin Johnson added. 

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NOTE TO PRESS: The Broadband Road Trip itinerary is attached for your reference.

Broadband Road Trip: A High Speed Internet Tour

PRE-Road Trip Events: Tuesday, August 23

10:00 AM        FCC Commissioner Adelstein speaks at South Dakota Telecommunications Association's Annual Conference, Ramkota, Pierre (invitation event)

3:00 PM           Arrive at Communication Services for the Deaf, Sioux Falls, for presentation on broadband signing and other services offered by CSD via Qwest (invitation event)

4:30 PM           Arrive at PrairieWave Communications, Sioux Falls, for walk-through with company representatives and organization overview (invitation event)

Wednesday, August 24

9:00 AM          Tour kickoff press event, Sheraton Hotel, Sioux Falls (public event)

 11:15 AM        Arrive Mitchell Technical Institute; Mitchell Chamber of Commerce luncheon hosted by Mitchell-based telecommunications consultants Innovative Systems, Martin Group and Vantage Point Communications; presentations by Midcontinent Communications (on latest technologies such as voice-over-the-internet) and Santel Communications Cooperative/Mitchell Telecom (on new "fiber-to-the-premise" broadband access system in Mitchell) (invitation event)

4:00 PM           Arrive at James/Northern Valley Communications, Groton; speak at community event, along with company and SDN Communications representatives, on serving both small towns and competing in cities like Aberdeen (public event)

7:00 PM           Arrive Kennebec to attend Kennebec Telephone Company-sponsored community/customer barbecue, with company representatives (public event)

Thursday, August 25

7:45 AM          Meeting with Governor Rounds (invited), legislative leadership and state government telecommunications officials about services provided by SDN Communications and Qwest to the state and presentation by SD Bureau of Information and Technology on state uses of technology (invitation event)

10:00 AM        Arrive at Lakota Technologies and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone

Authority, Eagle Butte, for walk-through with company representatives (invitation event)

12:30 PM         Arrive at Philip Livestock Auction, Philip, for walk-through with company and Golden West Telecommunications and SDN Communications representatives; see demonstration on the Auction's new Webcast technology (invitation event)

3:45 PM           Press conference and "Broadband Shootout," Main Street, Deadwood, with PrairieWave (former Black Hills FiberCom) and Midcontinent representatives (public event)