Washington Governor Proposes Jump-Start for Telecommunications
- By Jill Rosen
- Jan 18, 2000
Washington Gov. Gary Locke's proposed budget package includes a program that would deliver telecommunication services to rural areas by cutting government red tape, promoting investments in infrastructure and encouraging competition among phone companies.
Details of the plan include:
* Authorizing public utility districts and rural port districts to provide wholesale telecommunications services in their districts.
* Linking the state's 68 library districts to the K-20 Internet network.
* Easing telephone company regulations.
* Easing local governments' regulations to get infrastructure in place faster.
* Revamping universal service funding so rural areas can get affordable phone service thanks to competitive pricing.
The governor also announced a pilot project in which the state would recruit telecommunications-dependent businesses looking to expand and match them with rural communities.
Locke said his initiative would help reduce the disparity in telecommunications services between the state's urban and rural areas.