For Immediate Release

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Liz Rose, Communications Director, Free Press, 202-265-1490 x 32 or

National Broadband Plan Signals Progress But Hard Choices Ahead

WASHINGTON - In response to the release of the executive summary of the Federal
Communications Commission's National Broadband Plan, Free Press
Executive Director Josh Silver made the following statement:

"The FCC's National Broadband Plan represents a decisive break from
the policies of the Bush administration. The Plan makes clear that
high-speed Internet access has become a ‘must have' critical public
service like water, electricity and telephone service. Closing the
digital divide is now a national priority. The agency staff should be
commended for pouring countless hours of hard work into preparing this
blueprint for America's broadband future.

"We strongly support the FCC's goals of bringing world-class speeds
and affordable prices to American broadband consumers. The commitment
to universal access and near-universal adoption in the next decade is
the most important infrastructure challenge of this era. Ambitious
benchmarks to put the United States back among the world's leading
broadband nations are exactly what we need at a time of economic
uncertainty. We are especially pleased to see policies focused on the
digital have-nots and a clear commitment to erasing the digital divide.


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"But there are no easy paths to reach these goals. To put the market
to work for American consumers, the FCC will need to foster competition
to drive down prices and drive up speeds. This will require confronting
the market power of the cable and telephone giants that control the
broadband market. The problems caused by the lack of competition are
what led the Congress to order up a National Broadband Plan. While the
FCC does take some important steps toward a new framework for
competition policy, many of the critical questions are deferred for
further review. We hope the plan will confront the competition problems
directly, and will include specific policies to put consumers first.
Implementing the policies needed to bring every American affordable,
robust broadband will require courageous leadership and a willingness
to stand up to narrow corporate interests.

"We stand in strong support of the goals and direction laid out by
this plan. We hope the FCC will move forward quickly. Our commitment is
to make every effort to bring smart ideas and public support to the FCC
in the months to come to help tackle these problems and win big results
for the American public."


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