Broadband for All

February 6, 2007
Rep. John Dingell, Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, wrote an op-ed in The Hill yesterday.

Affordable broadband for everyone

The Hill - February 6, 2007

Advanced high-capacity communications networks will boost our economy and revolutionize our lives at home, at work, and at play. High-bandwidth networks have already allowed American businesses to improve productivity, create jobs and increase wages. America should be the undisputed world leader in broadband innovation and deployment.

America is the birthplace of the Internet. Yet there is significant concern that our ranking, by whatever measure, in the global information economy is less than it should be.  While the overall number of United States households adopting broadband is growing, our relative position in the world is worsening. Consumers in other countries enjoy broadband connections that are faster, cheaper and offered by more providers.

The President set an ambitious goal for universal broadband access by 2007, yet, like many Administration initiatives, offered no specific benchmarks or policy directives.  The lack of an up-to-date, comprehensive strategy forces the communications sector to muddle through a landscape marked by disparate government programs.  2007 has arrived and it remains unclear who, if anyone, in the Administration is taking up the mantle of assuring affordable broadband access to those who most need it.

While the current course concerns me, I have great faith in our nation's ability to meet this challenge. Historically, our nation has achieved remarkable communications feats through policies that spur competition, investment and innovation.

Read on for the details, and see much more in the Democrats' Innovation Agenda:

Create an educated, skilled workforce in the vital areas of science, math, engineering, and information technology;

Invest in a sustained federal research and development initiative that promotes public-private partnerships;

Guarantee affordable access to broadband technology for all Americans;

Achieve energy independence in 10 years by developing emerging technologies for clean and sustainable alternatives that will strengthen national security and protect the environment; and,

Provide small businesses with the tools to encourage entrepreneurial innovation and job creation.