As these applications and capabilities have become a more important part of each of our lives, we take our access to them for granted – we assume when we wake up in the morning we will have received our emails and will have access to what we rely on to start our day. The reality is, however, these services depend on the wireline network – the same network that once offered primarily voice services now serves to meet today’s consumer demand for seamless and secure wired and wireless connectivity as well. As demand for these services continues to rise, telecommunications providers across the country have needed to invest heavily in their networks and North Carolina is no exception.
For over 100 years, the member companies of the North Carolina Telecommunications Industry Association (NCTIA) have invested in networks to meet the growing demands for capacity and to integrate multiple technology devices into their networks. While the demand from the network has shifted from wireline telephones to wireless devices and seamless access to wireless internet and broadband, it remains the wireline networks that continue to answer our demands for enhanced services.
Just as consumers look for enhanced services from their providers, providers seek educated customers who want to integrate new technology into their daily lives. Collectively we all seek smarter ways to accomplish our business and professional goals and access to the Internet keeps North Carolina connected to the global community and helps our local communities effectively manage safety, transportation, nutrition, health care and education.
North Carolina telecommunications providers are doing their part to enhance the services available across the state. They give back to the communities they serve by funding educational and community service needs and providing the availability of broadband that has become a necessary component of infrastructure towards attracting businesses to North Carolina. Additionally, in an effort to monitor the availability of these services, NCTIA member companies helped fund Connect North Carolina, a mapping tool that allows us to accurately monitor the successful deployment and use of high speed internet services across the state.
The business of providing telecommunications services is increasingly competitive. New services are constantly emerging and companies that once provided cable TV or wireless service are now in the voice and Internet business. There is great potential for confusion among consumers as new competitors advertise to entice customers to switch to alternate providers. One fact should be clear: reliable telecommunications – even through your cell phone or computer – depends on a robust wireline network. Even as the competition stiffens, wireline carriers will keep investing in their networks and the communities they serve, confident that a high standard of service and reliability will help North Carolina’s carriers continue to meet the needs of their customers.
The member carriers of the NCTIA are committed to continuing to provide increasingly advanced services to the residents and businesses of our state. To ensure that this can always be the case, policymakers in North Carolina need to make sure the network providers have the support required to continue investing in networks across the state. Only by working together with policymakers can we stay ahead of the rapidly evolving demands of customers and encourage economic development across the state.
Carole Woodward is president/CEO of the North Carolina Telecommunications Industry Association.