Telecommunications

Carolyn Cournoyer writes for Governing on a Texas bill that would make sending and receiving text messages illegal for lawmakers, in the interest of keeping public business open.

As Cournoyer explains:

The measure, introduced in March by Rep. Todd Hunter, would make it illegal for Texas legislators to send or receive a text, e-mail or instant message, or make posts to websites, during public meetings. It’s not a question of whether lawmakers are paying

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The availability of high-speed access varies widely in the Midwestern states. 

This Act restricts how third parties add charges to telephone bills.

This Act requires wireless telecommunications carriers disclose the location of cell phone callers when such callers use their cell phones to make emergency calls. The Act directs that no cause of action shall lie in any court against any wireless telecommunications carrier, its officers, employees, agents or other specified persons for providing call location information while acting in good faith and in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

As the U.S. moves toward a national broadband map, several states are undertaking mapping projects thanks to grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A national map will help states determine where broadband Internet actually exists and where it doesn’t, helping to expand access to areas that currently lack it.

State eNews Issue #42 | March 17, 2010
 

Communication and cooperation among federal agencies and states are essential to the success of a national broadband plan, which the Federal Communications Commission released March 16.

That was the message Irene Flannery of the FCC and Cynthia Schulz of the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration delivered at the National Association of State...

The gap between the "haves" and "have-nots" for those who have high-speed internet access continues to grow.  A number of federal, state, and local initiatives may help make universal broadband access a reality. 

State eNews Issue #37 | January 6, 2010

States are starting to see an influx of investment in broadband from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Obama administration on Dec. 17 announced $183 million in the first round of stimulus funds would go to 18 broadband projects in 17 states. Of the initial awards, $121.6 million went to middle mile projects, those connections to communities lacking sufficient broadband access...

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments calls upon the federal agencies distributing the broadband funding included in the ARRA to expressly mandate that broadband awareness, adoption, use, and digital literacy programs receive funding priority;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments calls upon the federal agencies implementing the broadband funding included in the ARRA to follow Congress’ clear legislative intent with respect to broadband adoption, use, and digital literacy treat the mandated minimum expenditure of $250 million for these purposes as a threshold level with a maximum limited only by the size of the broadband stimulus program itself.

Suggested State Legislation: Access to high speed Internet services is vital to America’s economy. Developing a comprehensive strategy to provide access statewide is a goal in most, if not all, states. Illinois and Minnesota are two states which are using a nonprofit organization to plan or manage the process to make it happen.

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