Jim Baller
The Baller Herbst Law Group
Marty Stern
Partner, K&L Gates

The Baller Herbst Law Group, PC

How Enlightened Leadership Revitalized A Region Using Advanced Communications

Decisions led to sophisticated networks with a rich variety of technologies, business models and funding mechanisms

The conference offers valuable lessons and contacts for communities and regions across the country

Just a decade ago, the simultaneous decline of tobacco, textiles, coal, and agriculture confronted much of the South, especially its rural areas, with an immense challenge. Among the hardest hit regions was the one encompassing southern Virginia, northeastern Tennessee, and northwestern North Carolina, whose economy had for many decades depended heavily on these industries. With no upturn in these old industries in sight, enlightened leaders across the region developed forward-looking strategies: Most notably, they decided to make affordable access to advanced communications networks the focal point of their efforts to revitalize their communities and the region as a whole.

Their actions over the past decade have led to the development of sophisticated communications networks in several of the region's communities - networks that were established using a rich variety of technologies, business models, and funding mechanisms. As a result, the region today has an important story to share about its tremendous progress in attracting or retaining businesses and creating thousands of 21st Century jobs, many paying much higher wages than existing local averages.

In the first program of our new economic development series, we will provide attendees a wealth of information about the relationship between economic development and broadband. Attendees will understand the steps that the leading communities in the Virginia-Tennessee-North Carolina region have taken to turn themselves around. They will learn what worked and didn't work for the various communities, and what lies ahead. We will analyze the experiences of our host community, Danville, Va.; and those of Bristol, Va.; Bristol, Tenn.; Martinsville, Va.; Wilson, NC, and other community initiatives. We will also examine the important contributions of the Virginia Tobacco Commission, MBC, MCNC, Virginia Tech and other institutions of higher learning, various federal agencies, and the key federal, state, and local elected officials.

The program will benefit communities throughout the Virginia-Tennessee-North Carolina region, and will also provide valuable lessons and contacts for similarly situated communities and regions across America. We urge you to join us in Danville on November 8-9, 2012, or to tune in to BroadbandUS.TV's live video coverage of the event.