Tech Group: Hidden TN Subsidies Threaten Competition, Broadband Development

Press Release from Citizens for a Digital Future, March 9, 2011:

White Paper Finds Further Telecom Reform is Needed in Tennessee Current System Could Be Hindering Investment

(Nashville, Tennessee) – Yesterday, Hance Haney, Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, released a white paper that looks at hidden subsidies in the current telecommunications structure in Tennessee. The report, “Further Telecom Reform Needed in Tennessee: Hidden Subsidies Threaten Competition and Broadband,” analyzes the issue and what it can mean for broadband growth and Tennessee consumers. The report was realeased at an event hosted by Citizens for a Digital Future (CDF) and co-hosted with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

“Public policies like reforming access fees systems can lead to further innovation in technology and job growth,” said John Watson, CDF Chairman. “At a time when broadband is becoming a necessity for economic growth, it is more important now than ever to be creating environments where broadband investment is encouraged and can thrive.”

The paper also examines the effect that access charges have on broadband availability and notes that current Tennessee telecom laws are slowing the flow of private investment dollars that can benefit the state’s rural and low-income businesses and communities.

“At the end of the day the question is whether or not Tennessee consumers want to continue subsidizing outdated voice only telephone service instead of newer technologies like broadband which can provide voice, video, and data service at a lower cost,” said Haney. “The bottom line is that current intrastate access charges divert private investment to traditional voice service instead of broadband technologies that economic growth increasingly depends on.”

Bradley Jackson, Vice President for Government Affairs, of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry said, “The Chamber is pleased to be a part of this discussion about policies that will help attract investment, benefit consumers and help business grow here in Tennessee and we will continue promoting ideas and policies that make a real impact on economic development in the state.”

The full paper can be viewed at www.CitizensForADigitalFuture.org.

About Citizens for a Digital Future

Citizens for a Digital Future is a coalition of non-profit organizations and industry members that recognizes that adoption of and access to broadband technology — and its enhancements — has become increasingly critical to the environment, education, economic development and health care, among others. Its members support and advance public policies that encourage transparency, broad deployment and robust enhancement of broadband and digital technologies.