Steve Kohlmann: State must update telecom law

By Steve Kohlmann
Madison.com
April 5,2011
http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_21959bde-baba-5b7c-9ca7-d2d67a6e2fb3.html

Dear Editor: In today’s tough economy, Wisconsin needs to do everything it can to attract new jobs and investment to our state. One long-overdue policy change we can make to spur economic growth and create jobs is to modernize Wisconsin’s telecommunications law. With Wisconsin facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit, this is a simple update that won’t cost taxpayers a dime.

Outdated regulations on landlines prevent more investment in new technologies that are fueling economic growth in other states. Current law requires providers to invest resources in old, copper line technologies that consumers and businesses no longer desire — instead of investing those resources in the technologies of the future: wireless and broadband.

Ohio and Illinois both modernized their telecom laws last June, and since then have seen a combined $1 billion in announced investment and nearly 29,000 estimated jobs. Wisconsin could reap similar benefits.

Advancing a new telecommunications law will help Wisconsin become a leader in the Midwest for technology jobs and help keep and expand the valuable manufacturing jobs Wisconsin is known for.

The longer it takes Wisconsin to update its telecom laws, the farther we fall behind. That’s why the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin has joined a coalition of over 100 economic development, business, community and education leaders in urging lawmakers to update Wisconsin’s telecom laws as soon as possible.

If Wisconsin is to be open for business we’re going to have to walk the walk.

Steve Kohlmann

President, Independent Business Association of Wisconsin

Brookfield

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