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December 21, 2012

ALEC Eyes IP Regulation Laws, Municipal Broadband Reservations for 2013 Priorities

IPI expert referenced: Bartlett D. Cleland | In The News | Media Hit
  State Telephone Regulation Report

The American Legislative Exchange Council wants to keep states away from VoIP and cautions against municipally owned telecom networks. It's eyeing a strong mix of state priorities for 2013, its telecom leaders told us, some controversial and attracting dissent. The 40-year-old organization of conservative state legislators unites industry -- including major telcos -- and public officials for discussion and to craft model legislation that states sometimes adopt. ALEC members include AT&T,

CenturyLink, CTIA, Charter Communications, NCTA, T-Mobile, Time Warner Cable and Verizon, with corporate member fees funding much of the organization. ALEC held its 2012 States & Nation Policy Summit Nov. 28-30 in Washington and unveiled 25 pieces of model state legislation in a report Dec. 10.

ALEC's Communications and Technology Task Force is examining "uber trends" affecting the telecom world, big changes that won't be easy to "crystallize into model legislation," as the heavyweight organization has often done in the past, said Private Chair Bartlett Cleland, also Institute for Policy Innovation policy counsel. Each task force has a private chair, representing industry, and a public chair, representing elected officials, as well as an executive director. Cleland spoke of the transformations of mobility, Internet Protocol, big data, the cloud, cybersecurity and other facets of telecom, and said ALEC is "looking to protect innovation and innovation trends," with public and private forces working together.

It's devoting one of five subcommittees to innovation and how to "grow the tech economy in the states," said John Stephenson, director of the Communications and Technology Task Force. One focus of the council's November meeting was massive open online courses and new telecom-enabled models of education and health, said Public Chair Blair Thoreson, a North Dakota Republican state representative. He described significant discussion of emergency communications following Superstorm Sandy -- talk of power grid modernization, wireless and the possible need for backup power. "Huge things are coming" that will "turn the whole world on its head," Thoreson said, which ALEC should discuss even if those issues don't lend themselves to model legislation.

To read the full article, please visit State Telephone Regulation Report online.


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