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Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

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BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – The newly formed Young Professionals of East Kentucky (YPEK) organization is hosting its second annual Awards Dinner in Barbourville, Ky., on November 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Union College’s Patridge Conference Room.

The Awards Dinner will be an exciting event to honor the outstanding young professionals across the region as well as to celebrate YPEK’s regional mission to connect, grow, and lead. Awards will be given for: young entrepreneur of the year, young civic leader of the year, and young professional of the year.

YPEK is a nonprofit organization that serves 32 east Kentucky counties and is designed to promote networking, leadership and service in the region. For more information, visit

Registration and reception will begin at 6:00pm. Dinner tickets are $15 per person or $20 per couple.

For more information, contact Chas Gayheart, YPEK Communications Director [606-930-9141, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission announced a major revision of the Universal Service Fund that will shift billions from telephone subsidies into a new "Connect America Fund" that will expand broadband services to millions of rural Americans. Large telephone and Internet providers are praising the decision, but many small, rural providers are more cautious. They fear the cut in subsidies they rely on will have have a dramatic impact on their operations.

Ross Boettcher of the Omaha World-Herald reports that the Great Disconnect, a lobby created by the Iowa Telecommunications Company Coalition, says "the changes will undercut their ability to afford investments in their infrastructure and cost their customers more in the long run."
The CEO of Western Iowa Networks, a rural telecom provider, told Boettcher the company's revenue comes from three places: customer charges, compensation from other carriers and subsidies from the Universal Service Fund. Rep. Lee Terry, vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on Communications,
Technology and the Internet, who was key in early plans to change the Universal Service Fund, told Boettcher that changes in the subsidies would hurt rural providers: "We knew USF was going to be flattened, capped and reduced, but what the providers weren't counting on was another third of their revenue stream being phased out." Sheila Navis, executive director of theRural Iowa Independent Telephone Association, said the burden to pay for broadband infrastructure expansion will fall on consumers.

The FCC hasn't yet released details of rules for the Connect America Fund, but an executive summary released last week reveals the phasing out of inter-carrier compensation fees over five years. Boettcher reports that rural broadband expansion will be opened up to a competitive bidding process, which will keep costs down for consumers and give more incentive to larger companies for expanding broadband services in rural areas. This was likely a result of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's pledge that consumers' bills would fall as hidden fees associated with subsidies evaporated. (Read more)
Written by Ivy Brashear