Gov. Haley Barbour and Jim Barksdale opened the Inaugural Mississippi Broadband
Connect Coalition (MBCC) meeting today in Jackson. The gathering kicks off the
second phase of a state wide effort to increase broadband adoption and availability.
The first phase produced a statewide broadband map and website, The
MBCC will generate recommendations for improving broadband usage in various areas
of the state’s economy, such as health IT, workforce development, and education.

Broadband Internet is already being used by industries and organizations across
the state for video conferencing, online learning/job training, and media services.
However, Mississippi lags behind the national average in broadband usage. Gov.
Barbour adds, “Broadband Internet will be one of the key economic drivers of the 21st
century. By increasing the access and use of broadband, the MBCC will ensure that
Mississippi’s economy can grow, creating jobs and reaping economic benefits in all
parts of the state.”

MBCC Chair Jim Barksdale, the former CEO and President of Netscape, stresses the
social and educational impact that broadband can create. “Broadband availability will
allow innovation in online learning and telemedicine, two resources that are growing in
importance,” says Barksdale. “Access to broadband across the state will lead both to
economic opportunity and enhanced quality of life for all Mississippians.”

The MBCC is composed of over 150 industry leaders, community representatives,
and broadband end-users from around the state. These leaders will work on eight
committees focused on issues related to broadband access, availability, education,

workforce development, as well as the use of broadband technology in health care and
government. Two committees will also focus on the specific considerations relating
to broadband access and usage in the Delta and Choctaw reservation areas. During
2011, these groups will create targeted recommendations for their areas of study.
These recommendations will be used by the MBCC to develop a strategy for broadband
development and use in Mississippi.

The MBCC is a statewide 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization devoted to identifying and
increasing Mississippi’s digital literacy rates. The MBCC is funded by a grant under the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

To learn more about the MBCC, please visit or find us on Facebook and