wants to stimulate investment in
telecommunications technology and broadband
infrastructure. Free markets will do it best.
is a leading force in technology and
telecommunications in our country and throughout
the world. Most email traffic passes through Northern
Our state government technology efforts are
recognized as among the best.
should lead the way in bringing the wonders of the
Internet to all our citizens as quickly as
possible. Success in this endeavor will add
significantly to the growth of our economy in the
immediate years ahead.
development of free markets around the world has
shown that keeping government controls and
regulations at a minimum spurs tremendous economic
growth. This limited role of government put
American business at the top of the world market.
We must continue to keep the role of
government regulation in check.
Nowhere is this truer than in telecommunications.
telecommunications sector is
the key to bringing communities across Virginia
into active participation with the changing world
economy. As telecommunications changes, grows and
morphs in ways that we could hardly have imagined
a few years ago, government is trying to figure
out how and whether it should intervene.
pace of change is breathtaking.
Hand-held devices are becoming smaller and
more versatile, allowing them to be used as
telephones, computer terminals and data storage
facilities. Satellites provide most of the
services we now get from telephone and cable
companies. New computer systems are out-of-date
almost from the time the owner plugs it in. And
some of our neighbors are using Internet
connections for their long distance phone calls.
While new telecommunications multiply, old
services are becoming profitless commodities, as
witnessed recently by AT&T's decision to halt
commercial promotion in the residential market.
by the competitive forces of a free-market and
huge economic gain, the telecom industry has
strong incentives for expanding and improving its
A recent study by Criterion Economics and
the New Millennium Research Council showed that
“capital expenditures associated with the
ubiquitous adoption of current generation
technologies will result in a cumulative increase
in gross domestic product (GDP) of $179.7 billion
and will sustain an additional 61,000 jobs per
And this doesn’t include the gains to
business and personal productivity resulting from
the spread of these technologies.
achieving maximum growth requires minimum
Creating a free-market environment --
providing telecom companies the freedom to develop
and offer innovative products -- is the best way
to stimulate the industry and make its services
available to a broad population.
for example, the goal of achieving universal
accessibility to broadband -- vital to economic
growth in Virginia and nationally. Currently,
urban areas throughout Virginia
benefit from a widespread presence of broadband
technology. In contrast, rural areas have seen a
slower rate of investment in broadband
infrastructure. Without high-speed Internet
connections, rural Virginia has little hope of
participating in the burgeoning
rural areas with broadband will require huge
capital expenditures. Knowing the stakes and
frustrated with the slow pace of private
investment capital spending, rural municipalities
are often tempted to build the infrastructure
themselves. But the investment for expanding
broadband infrastructure should come from the
private sector, not government.
such private sector investment can best be
achieved by keeping government’s regulatory role
to an absolute minimum.
It is important that our legislators
establish government policies and regulations that
will enable our telecom companies to compete
freely and fairly while they deliver greater value
to the consumers in the quickest timeframe
rural areas need access to broadband if they are
to have the capacity to complete in this fast
changing economy. The private sector can and
should provide that infrastructure and government
must be careful not to mess things up through
unnecessary or poorly crafted regulations.
August 9, 2004