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Article posted: 4/1/2013 5:00 AM

It's time to update communications laws

This is a remarkable time for consumers and businesses as broadband transforms our way of life. Today, broadband connections -- wired and wireless -- allow consumers to stay connected to family and friends and businesses to operate more efficiently, compete globally and create jobs.

A recent study estimates more than 13,000 Illinois jobs were created from broadband investment in the state in 2010 and 2011.

Consumer and business demand for smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices is driving enormous growth in mobile Internet usage. AT&T invested $3.3 billion in Illinois networks from 2010-2012, but we want to do more to meet the skyrocketing demand.

Today, communications is in transition, moving from the old copper network originally built just to transmit your voice over a phone line to an Internet Protocol broadband network backbone that offers consumers so much more.

Did you know there are shoes for seniors with Alzheimer's disease that monitor their location and send alerts to a loved one's cellphone if they wander too far from home?

Did you know that some ambulances are equipped with wireless technology that sends patient diagnostics ahead to emergency room doctors, saving precious minutes when they count the most?

Illinois has a critical opportunity as the state's communications laws expire this year. Incredibly, Illinois still has laws requiring investment in 100-year-old technology networks. By adopting a modern communications law, state lawmakers -- without spending scarce taxpayer money -- can fuel additional private sector investment in wired and wireless broadband networks that create jobs and improve lives.

Lawmakers face difficult decisions this year, but updating the state's communications law is an easy one. Surrounding states have already done it. For our citizens and economy, Illinois should adopt a modern communications law in 2013.

Paul La Schiazza

President

AT&T Illinois

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