In the current economic climate, it is vital that we seek out ways to keep and create jobs locally. As consumers and businesses continue to grow more reliant on broadband and wireless technologies, updating today’s outdated laws becomes even more vital.
Current laws were put in place in a different era where Americans were literally shackled to their homes by phone cords. Today, nearly a quarter of American homes have no “home phone,” while another 15 percent consider their wireless phones to be their primary line.
The leaders of this wireless movement have been and continue to be minorities who are poised to feel the greatest impact of modernization than anyone.
Minorities, although only accounting for 34 percent of the population, make up 40 percent of the wireless market and lead the way in adopting wireless service, devices, and applications. This means they also receive the corresponding benefits in health care, education, civic participation, job opportunities, small business development, and wealth creation. These communities would also attract more private sector investment in broadband. MMTC has proclaimed this the “Minority Wireless Miracle” that holds the potential for universal first class digital citizenship.
These broadband networks are fueling economic growth and through increased investment could create new jobs by promoting an economic climate attractive to private sector investors in broadband and wireless technologies while continuing to hold current consumer protections in place.
Some states, like Indiana, have already moved completely to market regulation, and jobs and private sector investment have followed. Indiana commissioned a follow-up economic impact study following the modernization of state telecommunication laws in 2006, which showed that within a year of reform, telecom companies had invested an additional $400 million and created thousands of new jobs in the state.
Government must match the private sector’s enthusiasm for improving productivity and efficiency. We must modernize our regulatory system if we are to position our economy for success in the 21st century. Properly done, we can produce better regulatory outcomes and a stronger American economy.
David Honig is MMTC’s President and Executive Director. He co-founded the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) in 1986. MMTC has represented over 70 minority, civil rights and religious national organizations in selected proceedings before the FCC, and it operates the nation’s only full service, minority owned media and telecom brokerage.