December 22, 1999 | By: Haven Miller

A new Federal Communications Commission ruling will open the door for digital broadcast satellite (DBS) services to provide University of Kentucky agricultural programming to clients in Kentucky and across the country.

As a member institution of American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC), UK's agricultural distance learning program benefits from a recent FCC ruling requiring DBS companies to devote four percent of their air time to educational programming at no charge. This means distance learning programs now will reach owners of DBS home satellite systems.

According to Craig Wood, distance learning coordinator in the UK College of Agriculture, these programs have previously been delivered through KU-Band and C-Band satellite systems set up in various community locations. Now the signal will reach directly into private homes.

"In the past, our educational clients had to go to a school, or a bank, or a county Extension office to receive our instructional programs," Wood said. "With this new FCC ruling, people will now also be able to view the programs in their home."

Wood said satellite services were previously available through ADEC and its member institutions, but only on a commercial fee basis.

"With the new ruling, DBS companies will now provide air time for educational material, so it benefits the University. It also benefits the clients by giving them more flexibility in terms of viewing the program when it airs, or recording it on their VCR for later watching."

ADEC member institutions view the ruling as a positive development for higher learning.

"It's an important development for land-grant universities across the nation," said Don Poucher, who represents the University of Florida as a member of the ADEC program panel and administrative council. "It gives UF an excellent opportunity to provide ADEC with credit and non-credit public affairs programming that will be available to millions of homes across the nation that rely on DBS instead of cable."

Programs delivered by UK, UF, and the other ADEC members include instruction on agricultural enterprises, health, families, nutrition, and 4-H and youth development. Since ADEC was incorporated in 1989, the consortium has produced more than 10,000 credit and non-credit courses via satellite, videotape, and the Internet.


Writer: Haven Miller (606) 257-3784
Source: Craig Wood 606-257-6872