Wired Wisconsin: Wisconsin unprepared to compete for new technology jobs

Contact: Thad Nation, 414.412.7814

Google expects to hire more than 6,200 workers in 2011

MILWAUKEE— As Google Inc. announced on Tuesday that it plans to hire more than 6,200 new employees over the coming year, Wired Wisconsin noted that the state isn’t doing enough to attract those types of jobs to Wisconsin.

Google expects to recruit new programmers, engineers, and sales staff, while simultaneously expanding into new markets and diversifying the types of services the company offers.

“These are exactly the types of new, high-tech jobs Wisconsin needs to grow our 21st Century economy,” said Thad Nation, Executive Director of Wired Wisconsin. “But Wisconsin lawmakers need to take the steps necessary to ensure we are able to attract those jobs, and those steps begin with passing modernized telecom rules.”

Wisconsin, which has not updated its telecom rules since 1994, currently requires companies to put resources into copper line technologies that consumers no longer demand, stifling investment in newer technologies like broadband and wireless.

Google previously announced it would begin rolling out ultra high-speed fiber optic networks in several communities across the country, and it has begun experimenting with new fiber technologies in anticipation of the project. The company has said it expects to make an announcement regarding the communities selected for “Google Fiber” early this year.

Other Midwestern states, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, have already passed modern telecom laws.

A recent report by Wired Wisconsin, based on data compiled by the Illinois Technology Association and Technology for Ohio’s Tomorrow, found that Illinois and Ohio have seen more than $1 billion in combined investment and 28,000 new jobs in the past few months alone. Illinois has seen $520 million invested and 8,400 new jobs since it passed its legislation, and Ohio, which passed its version of updated telecom laws in June, has had $540 million invested in broadband infrastructure, new data centers, and other projects, along with 20,000 new jobs, since July 1 alone.

“Technology industries – and telecommunications in particular – hold a great deal of promise for job creation and economic growth, and the Google announcement exemplifies that opportunity,” Nation said. “But as long as our state’s telecom laws remains rooted in the past, we won’t be able to compete for the jobs and investment our state desperately needs. State lawmakers must make modernized telecom rules a priority this session.”