Wired Wisconsin: 61 businesses and organizations send joint letter in support of new telecom rules

Contact: Thad Nation, 414.412.7814

MILWAUKEE— Sixty-one Wisconsin businesses and organizations, including Wired Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Technology Council, sent a letter to Governor-elect Scott Walker, incoming Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and incoming Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald on Thursday in support of legislation modernizing Wisconsin’s telecommunications regulations.

The letter points to the economic gains the state could see if Wisconsin’s telecommunications laws – last updated in 1994 – were modernized to accommodate the changing technology landscape. A recent study, commissioned by Wired Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Technology Council, estimated that the state could create or retain 50,000 jobs if updated telecom rules were passed, in addition to seeing a $2.6 billion economic impact.

“New, comprehensive telecom laws are long overdue, as our state continues to miss out on economic gains because of Wisconsin’s ancient regulatory system,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “As the letter states, we still have a rotary dial law in a smartphone world, and updating that law would provide a significant economic impact at no cost to the state.”

Other signees of the letter include numerous chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, business groups, private companies, and technical colleges.

The letter also highlights recently updated telecom laws in other Midwestern states, including Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Illinois. Indiana, which passed its legislation in 2006, has seen thousands of new jobs, nearly $1.5 billion in new telecommunication infrastructure, and expanded high-speed Internet service to more than 100 additional rural communities, according to state Rep. Eric Koch, one of the bill’s co-authors.

“Unless we want to continue falling behind neighboring states in attracting new jobs and investment in telecommunications infrastructure, the Wisconsin State Legislature needs to pass updated regulations at the first opportunity next year,” said Thad Nation, Executive Director of Wired Wisconsin. “I urge legislators to take advantage of this golden opportunity to spur economic growth in our state.”

A copy of the letter is attached to this release.