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Congress crafting broadband investment

Thu, 12/04/2008 - 7:35am
Brian Santo

The Obama Administration’s economic stimulus package is going to include investments in broadband Internet infrastructure, in addition to funding upgrades and repairs for the national power grid, alongside more traditional funding for road and bridge repair.

That broadband infrastructure that would be included is according to a report from the Dow Jones news service, and attributed to a senior aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- CA).

A week ago, Rep. Pelosi’s office issued a statement saying that legislation is being drafted in the House that, among other things, would help “build a high-tech infrastructure that brings the power of renewable energy and broadband to communities across America.”

The legislation would also include a tax cut aimed at the middle class.

The language in the Pelosi statement suggests that the legislation would include incentives for extending the reach of broadband service, which would be consistent with long-standing government goals that have yet to be achieved through commercial efforts alone.

Universal broadband Internet coverage was often mentioned by President-Elect Obama while campaigning.

Details of the package are still being worked out, according to the Dow Jones report.

Congress’ options include tax credits to the phone and cable companies, greater subsidies to the companies to offset the costs of providing high-speed Internet service in sparsely populated areas, and increasing aid to states specifically for broadband coverage programs.

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