Technology-Media-Telecom Infrastructure Policy Research

Austin, Texas, USA -- Welcome to the Economic TeleDevelopment Forum -- your single source of information, thought-provoking ideas, and commentary on the interdependent relationship between telecommunications infrastructure investment, and sustainable community economic development.Many leaders of municipal, regional and national government entities around the globe frequently voice their support for developing and improving access to telecom and information technology infrastructure. However, in practice, their public policy positions and legislative actions often don't mirror their stated objectives.

Telecom Public Policy Dichotomy

A case in point: consider the apparent policy dichotomy resulting from the collective U.S. taxation strategies being applied to the communications industry. Did you know that telecom services carry the third highest consumer sales tax burden in American business (behind hotel rooms and rental cars, respectively)? And, the cost-of-doing-business taxes and fees that carriers themselves pay simply compounds this negative encumbrance.

Are you aware that combined city/county/federal taxes, universal service, public safety, network interconnection, number portability, and various other mandated or gratuitous subsidies can already exceed more than 20 percent of a typical service subscriber's monthly bill? Are you confused why these charges are applied? Well, you're not alone.

In addition to these financial penalties, facilities-based communication service providers must maneuver through a complex and sometimes conflicting array of local, regional and national regulatory rules and associated laws (like the "right-of-way" ordinances) that can unduly impede substantive investment in infrastructure.

The Global Networked Economy

On this puzzling backdrop, we attempt to inform our constituents, to stir debate, and even to challenge the conventional wisdom that's holding back many communities from reaping the implied benefits of joining and participating in the Global Networked Economy.

In summary, we hope that the concepts and practical examples referenced here will inspire you to embrace this cause, and take an active role in shaping a thoughtful and sensible public policy process within your own community.