It is Time to Let Kentucky Move Forward Toward a More Connected Future | News
From Rachel Bledsoe, RunSwitch PR
FRANKFORT,KY - The Kentucky Resource Council (KRC) recently released a letter to Kentucky legislators that employed the same old scare tactics and misleading rhetoric seen time and again from groups who prefer to hold Kentucky back. This time, they are crying foul about the supposed “dangers” of updating our telecommunications laws the way many other states have already done.
“The KRC and other groups who oppose measures to update our telecomm laws are frantically working the halls of Frankfort in an effort to hold Kentucky’s future hostage,” said Gary Gerdemann, Director of Citizens for a Digital Future (CDF) in Kentucky. “Whether it’s about energy production or new ways to communicate, naysayers always seem to favor keeping us welded to the past instead of being connected to the future.”
Technological innovation of all types has improved the lives of Americans. Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of communications. Compared to just 20 years ago, the world of business and the nature of social interaction have completely changed. The world has truly become a smaller place because everyone is now connected on a global level. However, as technology moves our world forward, it is imperative that government regulations keep pace to meet the demands of the times.
CDF supports legislation that would update Kentucky’s telecomm laws and remove burdensome regulations hindering innovation and investment.
“Kentucky risks falling drastically behind other states when it comes to modernizing telecomm laws,” said Gerdemann. “Subsequently, we risk losing new businesses and jobs to other states with more advanced and competitive offerings.
According a study by the National Regulatory Research Institute, since the summer of 2010, 21 states have enacted laws to modernize rules and/or limit regulation of telecommunications services. States like Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, which have updated their telecomm laws, are attracting new businesses and spurring economic growth while giving telecomm providers opportunities to make good investments in their state. For example, Airbus has announced a $600 million jet assembly plant in that will soon be constructed in Alabama. Mississippi has seen the creation of an $800 million state-of-the-art auto manufacturing facility. And, in Georgia, Kia has recently completed a $1 billion auto plant.
Kentucky needs modernized laws that remove the outdated “carrier of last resort” mandate that forces carriers like Cincinnati Bell and AT&T to invest in old copper networks (in areas with less than 5,000 housing units) regardless of the national transition to an IP-based fiber and wireless network. This is a simple, common sense move which many other states have already adopted.
Those who oppose this measure claim that carriers will remove services from rural Kentuckians. However, adoption of these laws has not jeopardized consumer phone services in other states.
“Residents in these areas have not lost access to 911 emergency services,” says Gerdemann. “Consumer prices for broadband services have not skyrocketed. No one has had their phone taken away. In short, the sky hasn’t fallen as groups like the KRC predict will happen in Kentucky.”
Modernizing telecom laws also helps free up resources to promote investment in building out wireless and broadband IP infrastructure—products that consumers are demanding rather than the landlines that they are rapidly abandoning—and Kentuckians in rural areas stand to gain the most. Not only will rural households see the benefits of increased investment in wireless networks, but schools, hospitals, medical providers and other businesses that are relying on technology more and more every day will finally reap the benefits of a fully connected, digital future.
Those who wish to hold Kentucky back are also claiming that consumer choice will decrease as a result of updates to these laws. Again, the opposite is true. Consumer choice will only increase as investment floods the market. It is precisely this competition that will spur additional innovation in the industry. Competition protects consumers better than any government entity ever could and inherently works to expand services while keeping prices reasonable. However, until Kentucky fully embraces the future, we cannot succeed in competitive national or global market.
CDF supports legislation that will free up resources to invest in wireless networks rather than old copper landlines because it will result in:
• Allowing carriers to better use their investments to build out wireless and broadband IP infrastructure and provide broadband to additional Kentuckians.
• Kentucky schools, hospitals and business will have increased access to the technology they rely on, making it easier to connect with family, friends and customers around the world.
• New businesses and industries that are currently deterred by Kentucky’s outdated and overly burdensome regulatory climate will finally be attracted to the state bringing investment and jobs with them.
• The increase in economic growth as a result of updating our telecomm laws will finally make Kentucky a competitor among other states.
“Kentucky is a thoroughbred state that should be leading the pack when it comes to creating well-connected digital infrastructure that promotes new investment, new business opportunities and more jobs,” said Gerdemann. “After all, isn’t that what an unbridled spirit is all about?”
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