Broadband essential to Illinois consumers, businesses and jobs
By Paul La Schiazza
This is a remarkable time for consumers and businesses. The advancements from wired and wireless broadband are transforming our way of life.
Today, broadband connections — wired and wireless — allow consumers to stay connected to family and friends and allow businesses to operate more efficiently, compete globally and create jobs.
Think about it. The first iPhone was released in 2007. Before then, there were zero "mobile apps." Now, a recent study estimates more than 13,000 Illinois jobs were created from broadband investment in the state in 2010 and 2011, and there were nearly 20,000 app-economy jobs in Illinois alone last year.
Consumer and business demand for smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices is driving enormous growth in mobile Internet usage. AT&T invested $3.3 billion in our Illinois networks from 2010-2012, but we want to do more to meet the skyrocketing demand.
Today, communications is in transition — moving from the old copper network, originally built just to transmit your voice over a phone line, to an Internet Protocol broadband network backbone that offers consumers so much more to improve life.
While it is easy to download a book, make a dinner reservation or check movie times, there are other wireless applications that do more than improve lives, they can actually save lives.
Did you know there are shoes for seniors with Alzheimer's disease that monitor their location and send alerts to a loved one's cellphone if they wander too far from home?
Did you know that some ambulances are equipped with wireless technology that sends patient diagnostics ahead to emergency room doctors, saving precious minutes when they count the most?
Illinois has a critical opportunity as the state's communications laws expire this year. Incredibly, Illinois still has laws that require investment in 100-year-old technology networks.
By adopting a modern communications law, our state lawmakers, without spending scarce taxpayer money, can fuel additional private sector investment in wired and wireless broadband networks that create jobs and improve lives.
State lawmakers have very difficult decisions to make this year, but updating the state's telecommunications law is an easy decision. Our surrounding states have already done it, and a modern law will create jobs and strengthen the broadband networks our families, businesses and public safety officials rely on every hour of every day.
For our citizens and our economy, Illinois should adopt a modern communications law in 2013.
Paul La Schiazza is the president of AT&T Illinois.