Coming to a PC Near You: Florida Town Meetings

Florida held its first "Cyber Town Meeting" last month, using the World Wide Web to broadcast presentations by Gov. Jeb Bush and other state officials about the impact of information technology on the state.

The cyber town meeting was scheduled as part of a two-day meeting of Florida's Information Service Technology Development Task Force in Fort Lauderdale. The Webcast, hosted by Bush, Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan and task force members, ran from noon until about 5:30 p.m.

The Florida legislature created the task force — also known as the Internet Task Force — to help formulate state policies regarding the use of technology and the emergence of an IT-driven economy.

The task force is looking at the impact of technology on government services, education, economic development and other issues.

The task force scheduled Bush's speech at noon so that state agency employees, teachers and other people could tune in during their lunch hour, said Tina Brown, assistant to task force chairwoman Julia Johnson.

"In the future, we may be conducting a lot of business this way," Brown said. "Where someone cannot afford to go to Fort Lauderdale, they can just log onto their PC at work or home."

PC users required RealNetworks Inc.'s RealPlayer — available for download via the Internet — to receive the Webcast. For more information on the task force, go to www.itflorida.com.

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