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To: Michigan Legislators & Staff
Re: Oppose HB 6456
Assuring that our communities have the technology infrastructure to grow Michigan's economy and educate its children is one of the key challenges of the coming decade. Unfortunately, the proposed HB 6456, while based on some laudable goals, has too limited a commitment to universal build-out of services in the state, ignores key issues involving deployment of broadband Internet services such as Net Neutrality, and lacks an adequate regulatory structure to assure protection of consumers into the future. We are also worried that potential community experiments in providing innovative Internet services locally may be undermined both through the elimination of municipal funding and local franchise agreements.
For that reason, we urge you to broaden debate on the proposed HB 6456 and hold off any vote until the 2007 session when there is adequate time to create a more equitable and forward-looking telecommunications policy that deals with these crucial issues:
We are at a critical time in the shaping of the video and Internet options available to households and it is critical that any bill enacted adequately address the issues consumers and policymakers will face in the NEXT decade, not just react to cable versus television franchise arguments of the past. We need a real plan to achieve universal access to new technology for everyone-- rich and poor households as well as urban and rural communities - and HB 6456 in its present form is not an adequate vehicle for that goal.
We would like to work with the state legislature in improving the bill in the 2007 session, but we ask that the state Senate take the first step of tabling any vote on the bill until there has been adequate time for hearings and debate on all these issues.
Copyright 2006 Progressive States Network.