Four rural California economic development and business groups have issued a letter publicly announcing their support for legislation that has been introduced to enable a telecommunications policy that will promote broader access to internet-based telecommunications services while helping the state meet its carbon reduction goals.
The bill in question is AB 2395 (Telecommunications: replacement of public switched telephone network), introduced earlier this year by Assemblymember Evan Low, co-chairman of the California Technology and Innovation Caucus.
Since 1999, there has been an 85 percent decline in the number of California homes using traditional landlines. Less than one in ten residential voice lines are now on the traditional plain-old-telephone service (POTS) network.
What’s more, maintaining the state’s existing POTS network creates an estimated greenhouse gas equivalent of burning 100 million pounds of coal each year. The network uses three billion gallons of water annually and consumes power equivalent to running nearly 90,000 90-sera refrigerators 24 hours a day, all year round.
In a statement issued after introducing the legislation that provides a roadmap for the transition from the POTS network to advanced IP-based communications services no sooner than 2020, Low said that “California telecommunications law established in the 1950’s needs to be modernized so our state can continue to be the world’s innovation leader as well as the pioneer in addressing climate change.”
The four groups that have just announced their support for this bill are the Economic Development Corporations of Fresno and Kern Counties, the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, and the Monterey County Business Council, which collectively represent nearly 2.5 million residents.
The group has sent a letter to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who chairs the CA Assembly Appropriations Committee.
They say in the letter that “The counties we represent use different strategies and programs to create success. However, we all agree that our rural communities need investment in broadband technologies. Today, access to technology is a necessary tool for communicating with each other and interacting with current and potential customers. That is why we are all supporting AB 2395: to increase access to modern technologies in rural areas in California.”
The letter ends with the note that “Rural business and economic development groups are proud to support AB 2395 because it will support economic growth and prosperity in rural communities.”
AB 2395 is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 25.