Broadband committee sets first meeting July 21

A legislative committee looking at state broadband issues will meet for the first time on July 21.

The Broadband Access Study Committee is supposed to “undertake and complete a study” of broadband needs of schools and state agencies. This comes in the aftermath of the Idaho Education Network contract fiasco that has consumed the past two legislative sessions.

Legislators have twice been forced to fork over state dollars to bail out the network and keep high-speed Internet in the high schools. But at this point, school districts have been forced to cut their own contracts for broadband.

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Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint.

The legislative committee has not yet posted an agenda, but there is one additional piece of news. Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, has been added to the committee, replacing former Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, who resigned to head the state Department of Insurance.

Keough has been deeply involved in the Idaho Education Network debate: She sits on the Senate Education Committee and a special committee of lawmakers and educators assigned to oversee the network. As vice chair of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, Keough also is in line to replace Cameron as co-chair of the Legislature’s budget-writing committee.

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