“This is not just another priority where some progress would be nice,” she said. “This is ‘mission critical’ for the state. We have to recognize that we’re not going to be able to expand our astronomy program, develop smart software, or attract the high-tech businesses we want unless we have these tools.”
Dr. Greenwood asked for comment from David Lassner of the UH, who chaired the broadband task force, and he provided the “good news” that Recovery Act funding was allowing the delivery of fiber optic cable to every public school, college, and library in Hawaii, which would provide one major piece of the state’s broadband needs.
The final speaker, Chuck Gee, a member of the UH Board of Regents, applauded this particular good news. He praised symposium participants for their action-oriented discussions. “I didn’t know what I expected to find after spending two days here,” he said. “We’re a state that’s very good at planning, and some of our plans go back a long way, and they’re still sitting on someone’s shelf. But now I am reminded by these speakers how really good a university we have, and I see this university becoming a catalyst for making things happen. That is the new wrinkle. The kinds of fields we have heard about are compatible with who we want to be. Tourism is a clean industry, and so are clean energy, space research, health sciences, and digital media. Speaking for myself and many of my fellow regents who have sat through this symposium these past two days, you have our total support, and thank you to our visitors for bringing a new sense of excitement as to where we can go from here.”