Free Press Releases Broadband Stimulus Proposals

FreePress

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838

Free Press Releases Broadband Stimulus Proposals

New Report Details Broadband Policies to Turn Around the Economy

WASHINGTON - Today, Free Press released Down Payment on Our Digital Future: Stimulus Policies for the 21st-Century Economy, a comprehensive set of proposals that would deploy a forward-looking national broadband infrastructure.

With strict benchmarks and clear accountability, these policies
would target stimulus funds toward building next-generation broadband
networks, connecting unserved and underserved areas, supporting
affordable Internet connections, providing computers and technology
training for low-income users, and promoting Internet access for
children at school and at home.

"Investing in the information superhighway is a concrete way for
President-elect Barack Obama and Congress to kick start the economy and
secure long-term prosperity," said S. Derek Turner,
research director of Free Press and author of the report. "But since
future generations will be footing the bill for this stimulus package,
Congress must ensure that these funds deliver the next-generation
networks this country needs. There should be no blank checks."

The policies detailed in the new report would allocate $44 billion
over the next three years, immediately producing tens of thousands of
new technology-sector jobs and generating hundreds of billions of
dollars in economic activity. The proposed tax incentives and grant
programs are designed to trigger new investments, not to fund projects
previously planned by incumbent telecommunications companies.

The United States currently ranks 22nd in the world in broadband
adoption, with more than 40 percent of all U.S. homes not connected to
broadband. Lack of meaningful competition has taken away the incentive
for network operators to make substantial upgrades or build out to all
communities, leaving Americans with connections that are too slow and
expensive.

Free Press' broadband proposals address the problems of broadband
availability and adoption, while also providing substantial immediate
and future economic benefits. These proposals also stipulate that all
networks constructed with or supported by broadband stimulus funding
must be open, freely competitive platforms for ideas and commerce.

The proposals contained in this report would create programs to:

  • Produce next-generation networks capable of delivering
    speeds of 100 Megabits per second through tax incentives that stimulate
    private investment.
  • Spur competition by awarding higher tax incentives to
    companies that deploy world-class, fiber-optic networks that are open
    to multiple competitors.
  • Fund the construction of next-generation broadband and wireless networks in rural and unserved areas.
  • Help low-income Americans get connected by using stimulus funds to extend universal service programs to support broadband.
  • Modernize the e-Rate program to connect children at
    home by supplying them with computers and lowering the monthly cost of
    Internet access.
  • Bring health care and public services into the digital
    age and provide technology training to senior citizens and families
    with children.

"Broadband is the great equalizer," Turner said. "It has more
potential than any other technology in history to raise the standard of
living for all Americans. Building this world-class broadband network
is a down payment on that digital future."

Read executive summary: http://www.freepress.net/files/DownPayment_DigitalFuture_summary.pdf

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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