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Feb 6, 201811:42 AMInside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Bits, bytes, and pieces: Electric cars, 5G, Tech Summit, CRISPR, and CHIP

(page 1 of 2)

A little bit about a lot of things …

Putting a charge into electric cars: The world’s slow but inevitable transition to electric vehicles is reshaping an entire industry, with companies and even nations racing to remain competitive in technology, consumer marketing, and more. Wisconsin should be no exception.

Companion bills introduced in the Legislature by state Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, and Rep. Rob Brooks, R-Saukville, would allow companies that build only electric vehicles — Tesla is the leading American example — to own their own showrooms, charging stations, and service centers. It’s an idea that rubs against the grain of current law in Wisconsin, which dictates that manufacturers cannot directly own dealerships.

In a public hearing last Tuesday before the Senate and Assembly transportation committee, Tesla owners wondered why they must travel out of state to buy or service cars. Others asked why Wisconsin isn’t embracing an innovative, inevitable trend. Lined up against the bills were car dealers who said changing the status quo would be disruptive to consumers and others.

At least two-dozen states, including Illinois and Minnesota, allow purely electric vehicle makers such as U.S.-based Tesla to own dealerships. The electric car revolution is coming; Wisconsin should be plugged in earlier rather than later.

Federal 5G network? Gee, no: The release of a National Security Council memo calling for the government to build and operate a fifth-generation mobile phone and digital communication network has been met with opposition, and rightfully so.

Experts have said they don’t trust the government to build a secure network of that size, scale, and cost; have expressed deep privacy concerns; and have pointed to the fact the internet grew largely free of government entanglement. A better strategy, they say, is for the feds to get behind research and development projects and underwriting broadband, especially for rural areas.

“What government can and should do is to push spectrum into the commercial marketplace and set rules that encourage the private sector to develop and deploy next-generation infrastructure. Any federal effort to construct a nationalized 5G network would be a costly and counterproductive distraction,” said Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai.

(Continued)

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About This Blog

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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