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Communities Benefit From Improved Access to Development Resources During Hard Times

NEW HAMPSHIRE, July 2002 As the rate of economic recovery remains unpredictable, New Hampshire communities are getting a boost in the types and forms of available help. Studies show that increasing public awareness, access and use of targeted community development resources contributes to economic and social prosperity. According to New Hampshire’s Rural Development Council (NHRDC) and the Knowledge Institute, facilitating this process is a primary role of a new collaborative venture.

“Supporting the creation of key partnerships to improve opportunities for all communities in New Hampshire is a primary role of the NHRDC,” said Nancy Berliner, executive director of NHRDC. “Collaborating with the Knowledge Institute allows us to expand rural development outreach initiatives in an innovative manner by taking advantage of both physical and Internet-based communication networks that serve everyone, everywhere on a 24/7 basis.”

The Community Development Collaborative project is the result of a $20,000 grant awarded by the Verizon Foundation and will further support efforts to productively address digital divide constraints by providing 24/7 access in hard-to-reach rural and distressed urban areas via a wide range of public and private access points. Ensuring broad-based resource awareness and access reinforces Verizon’s commitment to facilitate productive and prosperous community environments.

“New Hampshire residents have access to a robust telecommunications infrastructure ranking second in the country for homes having Internet access. Residents may choose from a variety of connectivity options including cable modems, DSL and wireless communications. There are more fiber miles in place in the state per person than Massachusetts, California, or New York,” said J. Michael Hickey, President of Verizon-NH. “Utilizing the Internet to help educate communities regarding the myriad of resources available to them – as well as to facilitate networking – can support productive social and economic progress in all geographies. We are pleased to support the NH RDC and Knowledge Institute in this outreach initiative.”

The Community Development Collaborative project focuses upon the research and Web-enabling of community development project “best practices,” and productivity-enhancing technologies and other resources available to communities and small businesses. The results of the research will be uploaded as a part of www.BUZGate.org, a virtual resource center developed by the Knowledge Institute that serves individuals, small businesses and communities. This project also includes the development and hosting of an e-mail-based discussion forum to encourage and support networking, future best practices sharing, and technology implementation among community development practitioners and associated stakeholders.

“The primary goal of the BUZGate virtual resource community is to facilitate innovation and collaboration between public and private organizations, community leaders, and citizens,” said Deborah Osgood, chief executive officer of the Knowledge Institute and developer of BUZGate. “We are very pleased to be working with the New Hampshire Rural Development Council and Verizon to help communities to further thrive by informing and connecting them to the numerous experts and programs available and targeted to their needs.”

The project will take full advantage of Internet-based features to educate, train and provide access to technology information and assistance. Through the use of interactive forms and hypertext linkages, resources will be presented in a way to facilitate further networking. The inherent value of a network is its ability to bring together organizations with shared interests for joining forces to serve mutual purposes. This community technology and development network project serves this process by creating the common communication infrastructure for resource providers to cost-effectively and efficiently connect with resource users.

Media contacts:
Deborah A. Osgood, Knowledge Institute (603) 642-4720
Lisa M. Thorne, Verizon (603) 645-2300
Nancy Berliner, New Hampshire Rural Development Council (603) 229-0261

Knowledge Institute

The Knowledge Institute is a leading academic institution specializing in research, education and consulting services for nonprofit and for-profit organizations worldwide. Established in 1998 and headquartered in East Kingston, New Hampshire, the Institute utilizes the capabilities of the Internet through www.BUZGate.org to leverage public and private sector resources for connecting small businesses and communities to help in areas of free and low-cost business assistance programs, productivity-enhancing business systems and technologies, educational materials and programs, and business-to-business products and services. For more information about the Knowledge Institute, visit http://www.buzgate.org/nh_about_KI.html.

New Hampshire Rural Development Council (NHRDC)

The New Hampshire Rural Development Council is a nonprofit organization serving to maintain and enhance the economic, social, cultural and environmental assets of rural New Hampshire. Activities include facilitating communication, fostering collaboration and forging partnerships with all people who care about rural New Hampshire. For more information on NHRDC, visit www.ruralnh.org.

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 133.8 million access line equivalents and approximately 29.6 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and nearly 248,000 employees, Verizon’s global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.Verizon.com.

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