Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Obama's economic stimulus would include rural broadband expansion and probably "net neutrality" strings attached


Internet service provides and telecommunications companies are brainstorming as to how to respond to president-elect Barack Obama’s challenge to bring broadband Internet access to everyone, even in most remote rural areas, as a basic utility. This fits into Obama’s plans for economic stimulus that upgrades national infrastructure.

The Washington Post has a story on p D1, Business, Wednesday Dec. 17, 2008, “For the Web, Change that All Sides Can Believe In,” link here.

The Communications Workers of America union has been vocal, with testimony by Larry Cohen to the United States Senate, committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation, Hearing on “Why Broadband Matters”, Sept. 16, 2007, link here.

Telecom carriers want to use some of the current phone tax to expand rural broadband. Some members of Congress want to predicate aid for broadband in an economic stimulus package on network neutrality legislation, with controls on blocking or monitoring of consumer access or content, even with the goal of preventing individual customer hogging of shared lines.

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