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Florida Chamber calls for telecom bill passage

The Florida Chamber of Commerce, Citizens for a Digital Future, and 40 local Chambers of Commerce have sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to pass legislation that will modernize Florida’s telecommunications laws and remove barriers to new jobs, business investment and economic development.

“As consumers and businesses have moved to wireless and broadband technologies to communicate with one another, other states have updated their telecommunications laws and have paved the way for more job creation and economic growth,” said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “By modernizing Florida’s antiquated telecom regulation, Florida can align itself as one of the premier places to live, work and grow a business, rather than watch those investments take root in other states.”

New technology has fundamentally changed how people communicate, yet Florida still has a rotary dial law in an iPhone world. Consider these facts:

  • Almost 43% of the nation’s households receive all or almost all calls on wireless telephones. (Source: Centers for Disease Control of the US Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Florida stands to lose investment and jobs to its neighbors in Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee who have recently updated their telecommunications laws. (Source: Hance Haney, Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute)
  • Increased availability of broadband could potentially add or save an estimated 143,405 jobs throughout the state’s economy. (Source: Hance Haney, Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute)

Two bills, HB 1231 by Representative Mike Horner (R-Kissimmee) and SB 1524 Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs), call for:

  • Updating Florida’s telecom laws,
  • Empowering consumers by allowing all service providers to compete, and
  • Providing a more competitive telecom marketplace.

The James Madison Institute, a statewide, nonpartisan public policy organization, which has done work on the issue, argues against the current barriers of job creation and business investment.

“If Florida is to compete in a global economy and take full advantage of technological advances – especially those that open up the market and provide a level playing field while providing the wider availability of broadband and other telecommunications services – it must do what all smart businesses do: it must adapt,” said Bob McClure, President and CEO of The James Madison Institute.

“Public policies like updating Florida telecommunications laws can lead to a bright future for Florida with increasing development to broadband,” said Christina Johnson, Florida Senior Advisor to Citizens for a Digital Future. “Hance Haney’s recent study emphasizes that telecom reform could mean more broadband, which will create jobs and spur economic growth and opportunities for Florida.  In tough times like these we can’t say no to opportunities to encourage investment in Florida’s economy, and to get folks back to work.”


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