Rural citizens in Ohio are currently faced with a challenge: old and outdated legislation.
The Ohio Modernization Act of 2009, S.B. 162 and H.B. 276, would modernize telecom legislation by preserving current consumer protections and removing costly regulations, which will in turn allow telecom providers to invest more in infrastructure.
This infrastructure is critical to rural citizens, who may current lack affordable, high-speed access, or not have access at all. This would be resolved through the new proposed laws by encouraging competition, through reforming the outdated rules that are unfairly applied to one class of providers, but not the competitors.
Establishing one set of rules will encourage investment, competition and innovations, all which benefit citizens living in rural, to urban areas of Ohio.
Americans living in remote areas can especially benefit from high-speed Internet through virtual health care applications and education and economic opportunities afforded through broadband. Many of these areas are unserved, and additional investment from the telecom industry is of extreme importance.
These companies currently invest billions each year and are a critical component of Ohio’s economy. This is not the time to stifle additional investment, consumer choice and job growth, but rather an opportune time to encourage progressive reform that promotes prosperity and opportunity while protecting consumer interests.
The Ohio State Grange, founded in 1873, along with our local granges, supports the Ohio Telecom Modernization Act. The Grange believes in choice and competition, and without this act, many rural communities in Ohio may be shut out from receiving the benefits of broadband Internet.
(The author is president of the Ohio State Grange.)