In my travels across the commonwealth, I hear from folks excited about their new smartphones, their modern tablets and their high-speed Internet connections at home.
I interact with businesses that are thriving because of their modern broadband connectivity, both wired and wireless.
But I also hear from people and businesses that want and need these modern services, but do not yet have them because private investment that is needed to bring these services to Kentucky is flowing to other states with more modern communications laws.
Kentucky's communications laws have not kept pace with modern technology. Some antiquated laws, enacted decades ago to address rotary-dial phones, are still on the books, and they are now deflecting private investment in modern broadband technology away from Kentucky.
Fortunately, pending legislation (Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 152) is a step in the right direction towards modernizing our laws.
This bipartisan legislation will encourage more investment in the modern communications networks that are needed to deliver the services Kentuckians want and need.
Across the country, consumers are adopting new communications services and new devices at an incredible pace — in fact, every month 450,000 Americans switch to services that run on wireless or Internet-based networks.
Residents and businesses across Kentucky seek these same modern connections that will provide for all of their voice and data needs.
Health care providers are looking for more robust wired and wireless connectivity in order to access patient information, identify treatments and provide effective diagnoses faster than ever.
Educators seek high-speed connections to access greater resources and to provide students with distance learning opportunities.
Consider this: In 2011, less than 20 percent of low-income lifeline support credits were used by Kentuckians for wireless service.
In 2014, through November, Kentuckians used more than 90 percent of lifeline credits for wireless service. At the same time, more than 80 percent of all Kentucky voice connections are through something other than a traditional land line.
While some schools, businesses, health care facilities and individuals already have access to these modern connections, others still do not.
We need to encourage greater investment in Kentucky so that communities across the commonwealth, no matter the zip code, have accessibility that opens the door to greater opportunities.
Kentucky has waited to modernize its communications laws for years, and we have seen investment in modern technologies in neighboring states.
If we continue waiting to modernize our laws, we will continue falling further and further behind.
Fortunately, with strong, bipartisan leadership in the General Assembly, we can begin modernizing communications laws to keep pace with consumer demands and the rapidly changing market.
SB 3 and HB 152 are vital to Kentucky's economic future, and I am confident that our leaders will do what is necessary to encourage the increased investment and innovation that can strengthen our schools, our economy, and our job market.
It is time to pass this legislation and encourage increased investments in Kentucky's future.