Efforts by the North Carolina Rural Internet Access Authority to connect all of the state’s citizens to the Internet will be showcased at an upcoming U.S. Department of Commerce media roundtable.

The RIAA was created by the General Assembly in 2000 with the goal of
making high-speed Internet access available to all state residents by the end of 2003. The organization is primarily funded by $30 million in private funds dedicated by MCNC, formerly the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina.

The RIAA has awarded $20 million to date. That includes more than $700,000 dedicated to establishing free and low-cost computer and Internet training courses, an agency spokeswoman says.

In a prepared statement Dr. James Leutze, RIAA chairman, said: “We are very proud of the early successes we have had in making rural connectivity a reality in our state. With the expansion of computer and Internet access and training, particularly in our rural communities, we are helping to enhance the quality of life and economic prospects of our citizens. As we work toward the December 2003 deadline for statewide, high-speed connectivity, we eagerly anticipate the positive impact increased connectivity and a technology-savvy population will have in helping to drive economic recovery and prosperity in North Carolina.”

RIAA: www.e-nc.org