For most of us, wireless communications have meant a whole new world of freedom. Just this morning, I accessed the World Wide Web from my kitchen table, made a few calls on my ride to work and mailed a picture of my granddaughter's ballet recital over the phone.
It truly seems that with each new gadget or bundle, friends and family that once seemed so far away are moving into our back pockets, or onto our computer screens.
While most of us equate these new-found luxuries with freedom, the truth of the matter is, we really don't know what we're missing.
As the telecommunications industry seemingly surges ahead, the Federal Communications Commission continues to impose rules that hinder local phone companies -- particularly their ability to offer services that larger cable and wireless companies readily provide. As a result, small companies can't compete head-to-head with the cable and wireless companies, and they lack the ability to bundle video, wireless and high speed Internet services that would mean cost-effective one-stop-shopping for me.
What would happen if local phone companies were allowed to operate in the same free market environment as other companies? For starters, the economy would get a much-needed boost of $50 billion in stimulus over the next four years. In Arizona, new jobs would be created. More innovative products would emerge, raising the ante on what is considered cool or "must-have." Our freedoms would evolve, making communications more seamless, more-effortless--and more affordable.
How could the FCC turn its back on the fundamental principal of market-driven competition, the driving force behind our freedom of choice?
How does such an outdated double standard -- one that intentionally limits local providers while fueling cable and wireless companies to claim more than their market share -- make sense in the year 2003?
The FCC needs to think long and hard about the effects of its inaction.
Really, it's not just limiting local phone companies in Arizona, it's limiting my freedom to choose.
April Sessner, Payson