On Saturday, President-elect Barack Obama said that he plans to revive the U.S. economy by creating jobs to upgrade roads, schools and energy efficiency as part of a public-works program.
As a part of the package, Obama wants to expand broadband Internet access in nationwide communities. "It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption," Obama said. And he added: "Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online.”
Specific figures and details of the broadband expansion were not given.
Last week, CED reported that the Obama Administration’s economic stimulus package would include investments in broadband Internet infrastructure, information that was 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 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.
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.
Obama has already formed a working group on high-tech policy – called the Technology, Innovation & Government Reform – and to lead the group, he has appointed Blair Levin and Julius Genachowski, both former aids to Reed Hundt when he was FCC Chairman, and Sonal Shah, who heads Google’s philanthropic organization.
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