Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317/232-1622

For Immediate Release: Apr 6, 2006
Governor Daniels, legislative leaders announce historic High Speed to the Heartland initiative for rural Indiana

Governor Daniels, Legislative Leaders Announce Historic High Speed to the Heartland Initiative for Rural Indiana

Increased Broadband Investments Start Rolling Out Following Passage of Telecom Reform Legislation; Governor and Key Legislators Recognized for Their Visionary Leadership

INDIANAPOLIS, April 6, 2006 ? Gov. Mitch Daniels joined Sen. Brandt Hershman, Rep. Mike Murphy and AT&T Indiana President George Fleetwood today to announce a ?High Speed to the Heartland? initiative that will bring new broadband service to 33 rural communities across the state. Industry observers expect this effort to be the first of several telecom industry investment announcements resulting from strong, bipartisan passage of House Bill 1279.

The initiative, to be completed in the next 12 months, will bring high speed digital subscriber line (DSL) Internet service to every central office in Indiana operated by AT&T. Once completed, the build-out will bring DSL service to rural towns as small as Stewart (population: 268) in Warren County.

?Our new telecom law, the best in the country, is already producing results for Hoosiers: more choices for consumers, and brighter economic prospects for our small towns,? said Gov. Daniels. ?Access to good roads plus access to high speed broadband equals a new era of opportunity for our small communities. 2006 will be recalled as the year of reconnection and recommitment to the towns that made our state great.?

Gov. Daniels encouraged the Indiana General Assembly to update Indiana?s telecommunications laws during his State of the State address. Rep. Mike Murphy and Sen. Brandt Hershman introduced legislation and worked tirelessly throughout the session to promote change. HB 1279 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support from both chambers and became law on March 14.

?Before passage of HB 1279, Indiana ranked 34th in the nation regarding broadband penetration,? said Sen. Hershman. ?With this reform, Indiana will become one of the top destinations for telecommunications investment in the country, allowing underserved areas both urban and rural to enjoy the economic benefits of high speed Internet access.?

?We last updated our telecom laws in 1985, long before the Internet and cell phones were on the scene,? said Rep. Murphy. ?HB 1279 will bring in needed infrastructure upgrades that will encourage more competition from more companies. This is good news for consumers.?

?Gov. Daniels and the General Assembly have unleashed a communications infrastructure boom that Indiana needs to succeed in the 21st century,? said Bret Swanson, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and editor of the Gilder Technology Report. ?Telecom reform will help connect Indiana to global markets and diversify the state's economy toward services, technology and life sciences.?

As of today, AT&T Indiana provides DSL service to some 46 rural communities across the state with populations under 10,000 people. Through this High Speed to the Heartland initiative, AT&T will also bring DSL to the rural areas of: Andrews, Bruceville, Bellmore, Boswell, Chrisney, Dana, Dugger, Elizabethtown, Flat Rock, Heltonville, Jasonville, Kingman, Kirklin, Lagro, Lake Village, Mechanicsburg, Michigantown, Mellott, Marshall, Montezuma, New Market, New Washington, Otterbein, Paragon, Rosedale, Shelby, Solitude, Sandridge, Spencerville, Stewart, Tennyson, West Lebanon and Waynetown.

?I grew up in a small Indiana town, so I can appreciate the importance of our DSL expansion? said George S. Fleetwood, president of AT&T Indiana. ?The governor and the Indiana General Assembly have set the bar high for telecom innovation and investment and we intend to deliver in a big way. As a result of HB 1279, Hoosiers can expect more good news to come from AT&T Indiana in the weeks and months ahead.?

AT&T Contact: Mike Marker, 317/265-4020,

Office of the Governor contact: Jane Jankowski, 317/232-1622,

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