Illinois needs to pass telecom updates

Posted: May. 17, 2017 9:40 am

To The Herald-Whig:

There are two pieces of Illinois legislation currently under consideration designed to continue to modernize telecommunication services in our state.

SB1381 and HB2691, supported by Sen. Jil Tracy and Rep. Randy Frese, respectively, will update the Illinois communications law.

Rather than requiring investment in outdated rotary dial-era networks and services that consumers have largely abandoned, it is designed to attract more investment in technology of today and the future.

The rotary dial telephone was first patented more than 120 years ago (1892). I cannot imagine that our legislators would invest in this technology if it was a business decision for the state of Illinois.

Businesses abandoned this old technology years ago. We do practically everything through high-speed internet: communication, document transfer, video, conference calls, education, sales meetings, networking from home, access on-the-go and more.

Current legislation allows the last handful of landline users, a very small number, to slow innovation and advancement in this area. We cannot have that; it's just too important for our businesses and our state.

Current landline users will not be left behind. The technology for home phone service is being updated and modernized, allowing them to not only make phone calls, but, if they want, to also provide them with high-speed internet, video or television services, and, in the near future, better 911 services through next-generation 9-1-1.

Because competition is once again brought back into the free marketplace, prices will be competitive and comparable.

On June 30, let the old law expire and replace it with a modern telecommunications act, one that will bring better home phone service to everyone, including those who have old landlines.

The bill even includes customer protections to ensure that customers have access to home phone services. These are among the significant customer protections of any telecom modernization laws in the nation.

Because of our smaller population base, the Quincy area is one of the last communities to receive new technology. Our residents and businesses need more services, more broadband, more competition.

The longer Illinois legislators postpone telecommunications modernization, the longer we wait.

Thank you to Tracy and Frese for being at the forefront of this effort.

Amy Looten


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