Third-generation (3G) wireless service was late coming to Owensboro. The “Big Four” providers launched this service a few years ago. We weren’t the last to get this service, but we sure weren’t at the front of the line, either. With the recent introduction of AT&T 4G LTE in Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green, offering wireless broadband speeds 10 times that of 3G, Owensboro is again behind the curve with regards to wireless technology. Verizon is currently the only provider currently offering broadband speeds that exceed 3G capabilities in Owensboro.
In a world that is becoming more and more dependent on our wireless connectivity, the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation’s goal is to do all we can to ensure Owensboro’s wait for this new technology is not a long one.
More than a third of Kentucky adults live in wireless-only households, while the number of smartphones and tablets in our Commonwealth continues to grow daily. This technology is critical to Owensboro’s future because wireless broadband applications are driving productivity and changes in every segment of our economy. It has become a major component in the way we address problems and opportunities in health care, education, commerce and more. In order for businesses to compete in a global economy, they need wireless connectivity, so we must do all we can to better enable providers to bring this new technology to our community.
Fortunately for Owensboro and other non-metro towns in the state, communications providers are among the leading investors in Kentucky, with AT&T, for example, investing $200 million per year over the past three years. These providers are looking to invest even more to meet the explosive demand for broadband services and are working with legislators to modernize our laws to make Kentucky an even more attractive environment for capital investment. Kentucky must compete for capital with states like Indiana and others who already claim to have one of the best business climates in the nation.
GO-EDC is one of more than 100 organizations and businesses representing thousands of Kentuckians who strongly supports this effort to modernize our laws to keep Kentucky from falling behind other states like Indiana, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Tennessee. We must update our monopoly-era laws for a world that thrives on competition. Kentucky cannot afford to wait behind other states for investment, and Owensboro cannot afford to lag behind other cities in Kentucky.
The way we communicate has changed, and we must not handcuff our future growth with outdated laws. The New Economy Communications Act is about attracting capital and investing it in the technologies of the future that consumers and businesses are demanding. It’s about bringing new services and a better wireless infrastructure to our state as we become even more dependent on the Internet to communicate with each other and do business. In a competitive world, providers have every incentive to continue to maintain existing wire line networks, but they must also look ahead to invest in new technology to handle this rapid change. We support legislation to build a better business climate in Kentucky that is conducive to addressing technological change and keep us from falling behind in the race to bring jobs, investment and innovation to Owensboro and Western Kentucky.