Thursday, January 08, 2009

Obama includes rural broadband in stimulus plan

President-elect Barack Obama said today that his massive economic stimulus program includes "expanding broadband across America, so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world." Obama had called for action on rural broadband throughout his campaign and after the election.

"Most industry players concede that there needs to be greater stimulus for broadband rollout, but there are disagreements over how relevant the rankings are given that some of the leading countries are smaller and easier to wire. They also disagree on the best way to close the gap," John Eggerton reports for Broadcasting & Cable. "One proposal the FCC has been considering is to reform the government-run, telecommunications company-funded subsidy of rural telecommunications to underserved communities, the Universal Service Fund, to help fund the broadband rollout. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has also proposed creating a baseline free Internet service as part of an upcoming auction a national spectrum license, and recently agreed to allow unlicensed devices like laptops to share broadcast spectrum, in part to boost broadband penetration." (Read more)

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