Group: Telecom regs need to change

From Illinois News Network

Illinois’ telecommunications regulations are holding the state’s economy back by mandating investment in out-of-date technology–and that needs to change. That’s according to a diverse group of business leaders and other interests who say current telecommunication regulations are stifling growth.

During a press conference to promote updating Illinois’ telecommunications laws, Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch says current state regulations mandate telecommunications companies like AT&T invest up to 30 percent of their infrastructure capital in outdated rotary phone technology.

“It’s not going to be necessarily that expensive essentially to just be able to allow AT&T to have full flexibility to allocate the entire amount. So I think what you’re gonna see is, it’s not an investment, it’s money diverted here being now being spent in a much more effective way for the economy.”

AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza says that the telecommunications company wants to utilize infrastructure capital to it’s fullest extent instead of investing in old, out of date technology that very few people still use or even want.

“In the end, and I think everyone in this room recognizes this, capital is a scarce resource. It can either be applied to a use that drives economic growth, or it can be wasted.”

La Shiazza says it makes no sense that AT&T has to invest in old technology and Illinois is missing out on businesses investing in other states that have more updated regulations.

The coalition consisting of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago Urban League, Illinois Retail Merchants Association and several others says they support a policy that ensures home phone service for all consumers and businesses through modern landline and wireless technology that will attract private investment in broadband networks.

They also say laws need to be updated to help spur investment and jobs without requiring tax dollars.

The group says they are working with various lawmakers to produce a measure that will update the state’s regulations.

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