Columbia, MO – November 1, 2012–Governor Jay Nixon addressed the Bluebird Network Board of Directors on November 1, 2012. Nixon was honored to be in attendance and recognized the Board members as committed visionaries and national leaders in the telecommunications field. Nixon emphasized that just as the railroads and interstates connected and transformed Missouri communities in decades past, businesses, such as Bluebird Network, are connecting and transforming Missouri with the information superhighway.
The Governor explained that Missouri has received $311 million of investment money dedicated to broadband expansion. This investment is a combination of federal, state, local and private sector resources, including more than $261 million in competitive federal funding obtained by the state of Missouri and its private and local partners. Nixon praised the work of Bluebird Network and remarked that the size and scope of its fiber route expansion will be instrumental in transforming the state’s economy. The economy in Missouri is improving— unemployment rate is down to 7%– but there is still work to do. The Governor outlined his economic strategy stressing that broadband connectivity is a key element to its success.
Sell more Missouri-made goods
In 2011, Missouri businesses exported $14.1 billion of goods and products around the world. So far in 2012, Missouri is beating that figure by 6%. This increase is not just because of the business of large corporations, but small companies and family farms are competing globally because of access to the Internet via high-speed broadband connections. Traditionally, agriculture has been the backbone of Missouri’s economy and opening new markets to farmers using technology and Internet access will make Missouri farmers even more successful.
Education and training
Because we work in a global economy, education, training and technology are essential elements in our economic expansion. With high-speed connectivity, higher learning opportunities will reach more Missourians than ever before. High school students in rural and underserved areas can take advanced courses on-line and get a jump on their college credits through distance learning. Working adults, who want to remain in rural areas and smaller communities, can enroll in advanced training or work toward a degree of higher learning via the Internet. Elements needed to level the educational playing field in difficult to reach areas are made available by access to high-speed connections to broadband.
The Governor emphasized that one of the demonstrated benefits of improved broadband service in rural Missouri is in Telemedicine. Connecting Missourians and their physicians with specialists many miles away who can look at high-resolution images and receive other vital information on a real-time basis helps doctors treat those patients. Expanded broadband accessibility between healthcare providers will mean access to quicker and more specialized care that is often life-saving for patients.
Nixon underscored that broadband access is a game-changer for our economy, for farming, for education, for healthcare, for law enforcement and public safety. He thanked Bluebird Network for doing its part to give Missouri a competitive edge for the future.
Governor Nixon thanked the Board and Management Team for their work in moving Missouri forward; and, if fortunate enough to be re-elected, hopes to continue partnering with Bluebird. (Governor Nixon was elected to his second term on Tuesday, November 6, 2012).
Michael C. Morey, President & CEO, of Bluebird Network, thanked Governor Nixon for joining the meeting, and added that speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors, Bluebird Network looks forward to working together on more public/private opportunities.