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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, Aug. 10, 2007                          

CONTACT: Leah Mohr, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201

Wireless telecommunications conference

has broad appeal

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will host "Connecting South Dakota: Wireless Technology," a conference that examines telecommunications in the state, on Sept. 18, 2007, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center, Sioux Falls, S.D.

The conference will focus on the use of current and emerging wireless technologies in practical applications such as public safety, business development and rural connectivity. Panelists that include telecommunications professionals, policy makers, local leaders and industry consultants will describe their experiences followed by pointed discussion directed by skillful moderators. Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association, will deliver the keynote speech.

"A primary focus of the conference will be how providers in South Dakota are using advanced technology to deliver services to their customers," said PUC Chairman Dusty Johnson. "We'll also hear from panelists on topics such as wireless internet, the impact of wireless on rural South Dakota and what I'm sure will be a lively discussion about Universal Service Fund reform," he continued.

"This is an opportunity to discuss wireless issues with a diverse audience," commented PUC Vice Chairman Gary Hanson. "We at the PUC regularly deal with these topics. I am interested to hear other perspectives whether the discussion centers around a policy debate at the federal level, new technology announced by wireless companies or the construction of cell towers in rural South Dakota," he said.

"I spent more than a decade in the trenches, so to speak, working in the telecommunications industry before I joined the commission," said PUC Commissioner Steve Kolbeck. "I understand how quickly technology can change and how important it is to keep up with those changes. The wireless industry serving rural South Dakota faces some unique, but not insurmountable, challenges in order to meet consumer demand here," he concluded.

Topics, sessions and networking elements of Connecting South Dakota: Wireless Technology will appeal to anyone who offers or uses wireless and wireline voice, data and internet telecommunication services in South Dakota. Community leaders seeking to improve telecommunications services in their area will also find valuable information at the forum.

Event details are available online at Conference pre-registration is due by Sept. 4, 2007. Questions may be directed to the PUC at (605) 773-3201 or