Kelley: We have to create those opportunities. And I've come to the conclusion that to create them we need to deregulate. Because I don't think there's a state regulator who is smart enough to anticipate all these changes in the marketplace and bring them about through the regulatory process.
"We don't want to be an area that in the extreme would be a kind of a digital desert in the north of the country."
- Milda Hedblom
Hedblom: Minnesota's going to have some good things happen in telecom information development because there's such a strong upsurge everywhere. But we should want be in a place where digital things happen because the laws are in place, the environment draws digital development. And right now that's not the case. I mean we don't want to be an area that in the extreme would be a kind of a digital desert in the north of the country.Hedblom and others say they're concerned the current regulatory structure will not encourage companies to make the huge investments necessary.
Ventura: For industry to locate out in greater Minnesota they must have that telecommunications available to them, and so that's high on our list.Three of the four bills under consideration would alter the current system of subsidies which enable rural residents to pay far less than the actual cost of providing service. Funds for the subsidy, which totals some $500 million a year, come from little-noticed fees consumers pay with their phone bills.
Kelley: Any telco company is going to be sending bits of data down the wire. And my view is that we ought to be treating any company that's moving bits the same because if government regulates them differently, then we're giving one technology an advantage over another, and we don't know whether one technology, if any, should have an advantage in the marketplace.He points out that cable TV companies already offer telephone service, and a Northern States Power subsidiary is providing high-speed Internet access.