LAWRENCE -- Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell will visit the University of Kansas on Feb. 20 to attend a briefing at KU's Information and Telecommunications Technology Center and give the keynote address at an afternoon summit on broadband technologies and communications issues.
State Rep. Tom Sloan (R-Lawrence) invited Powell to Kansas and is the primary sponsor of the summit.
"I have a great interest in developing our state through broadband technologies," Sloan said. "The area of high-speed broadband Internet capabilities has huge implications for our state's future.
"I hope to develop a special relationship between Kansas policy-makers and broadband providers, and the FCC and its staff. After this event, I hope the FCC turns to Kansas in the future to serve as the model for other states on broadband and communications issues."
Powell will begin his day at KU with a briefing in Nichols Hall at ITTC, given by Gary Minden, professor of electrical engineering and computer science. Minden will tell Powell about current ITTC research activities involving management of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum, as well as investigating advanced radio technology.
Minden is lead researcher on a three-year project for finding more room on the RF spectrum, using space on the spectrum more efficiently and evaluating new wireless technologies. The project is funded with a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
Powell became a member of the FCC in November 1997 and was designated chairman by President George W. Bush in January 2001. Powell previously served as the chief of staff of the antitrust division in the Justice Department. In that capacity, he worked on substantive antitrust matters, including policy development, criminal and civil investigations, and mergers.
Powell received his law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor's degree in government from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
These events are by invitation only but are open to the media. Media may RSVP to Dan Lara, University Relations, (785) 864-8855, or Todd Cohen, University Relations, at (785) 864-8858.
A schedule of events follows:
9-9:30 a.m. -- Powell and KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway will attend a briefing at KU's Information and Telecommunications Technology Center, 250 Nichols Hall, 2335 Irving Hill Road.
9:30-11 a.m. -- Powell will participate in a forum and discussion on broadband technologies at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, 2350 Petefish Drive. He will be joined by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Powell will make remarks and hear presentations by Kansas broadband industry leaders.
Companies known to be participating include Sunflower Broadband, Lawrence; Pixius Communications, Wichita; Tri-County Telephone, Council Grove; NexTec, Stockton; Cox Cable, Wichita; and SBC, Topeka.
12:45-4:45 p.m. -- Kansas Rural Stakeholder Summit at the Dole Institute of Politics.
At 2 p.m., Powell will give the keynote address, followed by participation in a series of roundtable discussions by summit participants.
Joining Powell will be Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Brownback, U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), key state legislators on telecommunications issues, Kansas Corporation Commission members, broadband providers, educators, rural business leaders and health care providers in a wide-ranging discussion about the opportunities of broadband communications.
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