06 Apr Midwest telecom conference to push government cooperation
Bringing together state and national governments will be the focus of the eighth annual Midwestern Telecommunications and Technology Conference, held April 12 at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
The conference, titled “Regional Cooperation and Innovation”, focuses on bringing different governments up to speed on recent technological developments and Congressional reform. By briefing them on these ideas, event coordinators hope they can develop telecommunications for the benefit of the state.
“When you look out at the state itself, there are a lot of local government units that need to join together in a potential coalition approach,” said Charles Mulcahy, founder of the MTTC and an attorney with Whyte, Hirschboeck and Dudek. “We have an ability to influence policy in that area.”
The keynote speaker at the event will be Kathleen Abernathy, commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. Abernathy, a graduate of Marquette University and a previous MTTC speaker, will focus on developments the FCC plans to make during the Bush administration’s second term.
Mulcahy said that listening to Abernathy’s opinions will be important, especially with recent changes in FCC leadership. With the appointment of a new president to replace Michael Powell, representatives in Wisconsin need to know how policies like the 1996 Telecommunications Act will be altered and what affect it will have on jobs.
“There’s been a tremendous emphasis on telecommunications to find a participating part of the framework, and a lot of people are in the industry because of that act,” Mulcahy said.
Governor Jim Doyle will also be attending the conference, following Abernathy’s speech with remarks on how the state government can take a larger role in telecommunications deals. He will be joined by Burneatta L. Bridge, chairperson of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.
The conference will also feature a panel on the development of the BadgerNet state network, including retiring UW-Madison Provost Peter Spear and Wisconsin Local Government Telecommunications Coalition President Mike Biagioli. Mulcahy said it is important for to share thoughts on network development, especially since during BadgerNet development local government was kept out of some meetings.
Other speakers at the conference include Bronson Haase, president of Pabst Farms Equity Ventures; and Jeffery Silva, Washington bureau chief of RCR Wireless News. Haase will give a presentation on fiber optic technologies in Wisconsin and how they can affect land development, and Silva will talk about telecom reforms being passed through Congress.
Mulcahy said he hopes that by the end of the conference the different divisions of government will be able to coordinate so they can have an easier time influencing telecommunications policy in Wisconsin.
“If you can get 30 to 40 governments together, that would be a wonderful outcome to have,” Mulcahy said.