Because I am so encouraged by the possibilities of the telecom marketplace, I am deeply troubled by what I am learning from the communications debate in Washington and in Juneau today. As it stands now, cable, wireless and satellite companies can freely invest and compete for my business. So why is it that the government insists on outdated rules that prevent local telecommunications companies from doing the same?
The way I see it: The more companies that can compete head-to-head, the more value, choices and better service I have. If the rules truly are for consumers, shouldn't the benefits be speeding toward us rather than being blocked by bureaucratic red tape?
I understand that some telecom rules were written long before the Internet became a common fixture in our businesses and households, but today these rules deny us the right to make our own decisions. I believe it is time that we have a telecom policy that reflects our world and ensures that consumer choice - rather than outdated rules - guide the future of communications, as they do virtually every other sector or our economy. Why should regulators be allowed to play favorites? In a competitive marketplace, only consumers should have that power.
I urge Congress to continue to conduct hearings aimed at aligning telecom policy with the realities of the world we live in today. Only then will we have a modern telecom policy that is truly pro-consumer - speeding access to the innovative products and services we want from the companies we choose.
Alfred McKinley Sr.
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