Residents in 18 Louisiana parishes where broadband is underused or unavailable are learning the value of broadband, high-speed internet access with help from the LSU AgCenter.

Connect My Louisiana, a broadband Internet education and awareness initiative for Louisiana shows the value of being connected to the Internet, said Dwight Landreneau, associate vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter.

The program provides classes designed to introduce residents and business people to broadband resources and to show them how it can be used to improve lives.

“The first class in the series is ‘What is Broadband?’ It covers various types of broadband and explains connection speeds and where to find broadband in their area,” said AgCenter training team member Dave Woerner.

In addition to the classes, a Connect My Louisiana Broadband Summit is scheduled for Oct. 11-12 at the DeWitt Livestock Facility at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center in Alexandria.

“The summit, which is open to the public, will feature success stories, vendors and educational modules that build awareness and educate the citizens of Louisiana about broadband,” Woerner said.

Registration for the Connect My Louisiana Broadband Summit is $25 per person, which includes lunch and a reception on Oct. 11.

Online registration is open at www.LSUAgCenter.com (type Connect My Louisiana in the search box). Those planning to attend the reception are asked to select "Broadband Summit and Vendor Reception” when registering.

“The four-year project consists of developing and disseminating educational content to show the benefits of adopting broadband technology in business, education, health care and other aspects of economic activity in Louisiana,” Landreneau said.

The main activity will be providing consumers, business owners, local government representatives and other public and private organizations with access to educational resources that promote greater broadband Internet adoption.

The nature of online business is changing rapidly with the increased use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs and other social networking sites, Woerner said. “Therefore, establishing an online presence for business is increasingly easy and low-cost.”

The summit will provide participants with important global online business trends and show them the steps necessary to establish a successful online business presence.