LANSING (WWJ) — On Thursday, Oct. 24, Connect Michigan and the Library of Michigan are hosting the 2013 Michigan Broadband Conference at the Kellogg Center, 219 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing, beginning at 9 a.m.

The conference will provide a platform for Michigan technology leaders to share and promote the benefits of broadband in our government, schools, healthcare facilities, libraries, communities and homes. Additionally, this will be a forum for examining cross-collaborative best practices and solutions for broadband planning that can make Michigan more competitive in attracting tourists, new residents, and business activity.

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A panel of experts, conducting a special discussion on the importance of broadband and technology for community and economic development will include: Blair Levin, Aspen Institute Fellow; Michael Finney, MEDC; Steve Webster, Prima Civitas; and Dr. Johannes Bauer, Michigan State University.

Breakout session topics will include digital entrepreneurship, technology in education, community-enabled broadband expansion, technology adoption for small businesses, library resources for business development, rural broadband expansion successes, the USDA’s rural utilities service program, rural health care connections, digital job creation and gigabit libraries.

To recognize outstanding individuals and organizations, Connect Michigan has created the Michigan Broadband Hero Award. The awards will be presented to winners during the conference, in three categories including Access, Adoption, and Use.

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Access awards will be given to individuals or organizations that have contributed significantly to helping expand broadband infrastructure into underserved areas.

Adoption awards will be given to individuals or organizations that are working to build awareness for the importance of broadband and technology and how it can improve quality of life.

Use awards will be given to individuals or organizations that are leveraging broadband and technology in a creative and powerful way.

As the designated entity for broadband mapping and planning in the state of Michigan, Connect Michigan is a public-private partnership between the Michigan Public Service Commission and Connected Nation to work with local governments, businesses, and citizens in the goal of increasing broadband service in the state’s underserved areas.

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