March 07, 2005

Tech CEOs Support Municipal Broadband

TechNet, a network of high-tech CEOs whose members include Intel, Microsoft, and Texas Instruments, believes that states should encourage, not discourage, the growth of broadband. TechNet Texas Director Julie Paul has announced that TechNet Texas will oppose the ban on municipal networks in HB 789.

Universal access to high-speed Internet connections could inject an estimated $300 billion into the U.S. economy each year, as reported in TechNet's 2003 broadband study. The study ranked Texas 4th in a national ranking of broadband-friendly state policies. Texas risks falling behind today, putting the economic future of the state in jeopardy.

The TechNet study describes how broadband is essential to the 21st century economy. "Next-generation broadband infrastructure, applications and services will be essential if the United States is to maintain its global leadership.... Businesses increasingly rely on broadband to stay connected to company operations, suppliers, customers, and employees who telecommute. For them, broadband availability will comprise an important component of company location decisions, impacting state employment and economic growth."

Just as rivers and ports, followed by railways, highways and airports were once essential determinants of where companies chose to locate and where industry flourished, so, too is access to broadband today.

TechNet favors a variety of approaches to stimulate broadband growth:

  • States should allow municipalities to provide wholesale services with their own broadband networks.
  • States should encourage broadband investment through innovative, supply-side incentives
  • States should consider financial incentives for broadband deployment, particularly to underserved communities.

We'll follow up with posts about TechNet's recommended best practices for state and city support for broadband deployment.

Posted by alevin at March 7, 2005 12:41 PM