From Internet access to new smart phones, modern telecommunications continue to transform the way we live. I support policies that encourage innovation and help make new technologies available to all.
Once the world leader in Internet access, today the United States doesn’t even rank in the top 15 nations. We need to restore our nation’s leadership in broadband. It has become so vital to the way we work and live that broadband should be considered a basic utility, not a luxury item. Unfortunately for many, particularly those in rural areas, this just isn’t the case. I support rolling out broadband in the same way that we built power lines across rural America in the 1930s and 1940s. We also need to find ways to make broadband affordable and accessible in areas where it is already available. Getting online to do homework, submit a job application, or research an interesting topic should be quick, easy and inexpensive for all Americans.
Most Americans probably can’t imagine life without a telephone. Lacking the phone line to call an ambulance in an emergency would be unthinkable. Yet, some New Mexicans still live without landlines or cell phone reception. Despite spending billions of dollars to deliver telephone service to all, our nation has not met its commitment to universal service. We need to harness new technologies and find better ways of finally bringing telephone service to all Americans.
In 2009, America switched from analogue to digital television signals. This digital television (DTV) transition provides more free channels to television viewers who use antennas and has opened up the radio spectrum so that public safety agencies can better respond to natural disasters and other emergencies. I supported delaying the DTV transition in order to allow as many New Mexicans as possible to prepare for the change.
Emergency Response and E-911
Firefighters, police, and other first responders need to be able to communicate and coordinate emergency response efforts. Our nation’s telecommunications policy is an important pillar in ensuring public safety and saving lives. Unfortunately, not all areas of New Mexico have Enhanced 911 (E-911) service, which helps locate people who call in an emergency. I’m working to coordinate resources at the federal, state and local level to make sure that E-911 service is available to all New Mexicans in an emergency.