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Project Broadband tackles 'misguided' policies

Mon, 06/18/2001 - 8:00pm
Anne Kerven

The Progress and Freedom Foundation has a message for broadband policy makers: Get the lead out.

"Misguided" policies are holding up deployment, and in turn, inhibiting IT industry developments, the Foundation says. Its Project Broadband will cover the issue by bringing together "leaders from the IT sector, including top telecommunications and computer industry executives and policy leaders," with a goal of developing action steps for fixing the country's broadband policies.

The nonprofit foundation claims some big names, including NCTA, 3Com Corp., Motorola Inc., AOL Time Warner, AT&T Foundation, Cox Communications, Nortel Networks, SBC Communications and Qwest Communications International.

The Foundation says IT accounts for 75 percent of all equipment investments by U.S. businesses, but its development depends on broadband deployment. And that's just not measuring up, it says. In fact, the lack of deployment "is the major barrier to expanding the benefits of the digital revolution," the Foundation says.

It says policies are stuck between two administrations, and the computer industry is at stake. It calls for new market-based ideas and policies, rather than regulation.

"What we have now obviously does not work," says Foundation President Jeff Eisenach, who will moderate the forums. "America desperately needs policies to remove barriers that inhibit the Baby Bells and other from investing in last-mile connectivity, but at the same time, limit their monopoly powers."

Forums are slated for Palo Alto, Calif.; Aspen, Colo.; Fairfax County, Va.; and New York City. The organization already has lined up speakers for the June 25 Palo Alto event, including former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale and Executive VP for Corporate Development at Intel Les Vadasz.

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