Abstract - The Information Society 12(4)

Regulatory reform and the promise of new telecommunications infrastructure in New Jersey

Jan L. Youtie and William H. Read

The information superhighway is depicted as important to maintaining national competitiveness in a global economy. The concept is particularly evident in the state of New Jersey and its legislatively supported plan, Opportunity New Jersey, to deploy advanced telecommunications companies technologies to all homes and businesses in just 20 years. The study of how the decision-making process behind the passage of the New Jersey legislation illustrates how telecommunications companies have worked to couple their desire for less regulation with the desire of state officials for economic development, by promising to upgrade the infrastructure of the public network. With the upgrade promise comes a hoped-for economic development payoff in education, through distance learning, in health care, through telemedicine, and especially in new jobs, by attracting information-intensive businesses, like finance and insurance, to relocate in their service areas. The lack of clear connection between infrastructure investments and economic development means that the twenty-first century will come before strategies such as this are proven.

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