This morning, NCTA held a Town Hall meeting, entitled “Local & State Official Talk Telecommunication Policy.” There was discussion of broadband deployment, which local officials are increasingly focusing on. Virginia State Delegate Terry Kilgore addressed the challenges with deployment and adoption of broadband access in rural areas. He pointed out that there is great difficulty in attracting a redundant broadband infrastructure without businesses driving the technology deployment. Pennsylvania State Rep. Curtis Thomas believes that what is needed is a path to adoption through public-private partnerships. Communities should encourage companies to invest and restrain public policy that hampers such investment. Massachusetts Senator Michael Morrissey addressed the challenges of low population density. For example, in areas of Massachusetts, there are great distances between homes, and wiring them together is expensive. He believes that tax policy to encourage investment should be explored.
Florida State Representative Rene Garcia expressed the belief that local government is closest to the people. Over the years, cable has been a good local partner investing in communities. Therefore, state and federal efforts to move the authority away from local government will lead to less broadband deployment rather than more. Rhode Island Rep. Peter Kilmartin said that while government moves slowly, technology moves much faster. Local authority should govern with a light touch, and not hamper an industry that moves so quickly.