At a time when jobs are scarce, healthcare costs are soaring out of control and access to a quality education depends on which side of the tracks you live on, there is no more important time for our communities to rally around legislation that creates a tremendous opportunity for our people. That legislation is Senate Bill 469 and its companion legislation, Assembly Bill 696 – the Wisconsin Telecom Modernization Act.
This important legislation will remove outdated rules that are stifling the growth of technology in the Badger state. Without this necessary change, Wisconsin communities will be left behind with less infrastructure investment, less job creation, less competition for consumers and most importantly, less access to state-of-the-art broadband technology. If this happens, the state of Wisconsin will stagnate, and as you know, whenever the general population suffers, the suffering is exponential in low income and minority communities where the negative impact will be felt to a much greater extent.
On the other hand, legislation that stimulates broadband investment creates unlimited potential for our communities. It can allow underserved neighborhoods to promote economic development through the establishment of minority small businesses that hire locally. It can provide Wisconsin citizens with better access to healthcare and get expert medical advice from the top healthcare facilities in the country. It can create opportunities for education by giving children the ability to have a world of information at their fingertips and it can empower people to search for jobs that they never knew existed. Furthermore, it can give the voiceless a voice in the political process so that real people can have an impact on issues that affect their everyday lives.
With the future of the state of Wisconsin at a crossroads, we must encourage our state legislators to decide which course of action would be best for our communities. We can continue on a path that will take decades for minority communities to see real progress or we can jump start the process to bring real, meaningful change to our neighborhoods by passing legislation that will stimulate the growth of broadband in our state.
Therefore, for the sake of our future, and the future of our children, it is critical that the state of Wisconsin pass Senate Bill 469/Assembly bill 696 into law.
Reverend Terrance Sims
President, Wisconsin Chapter
Ministerial Alliance Against the Digital Divide