|For all those busy KVHI'ers who wouldn't click on this link if I told you it was a 62 page PDF outlining Senator Joe Lieberman's Broadband strategy, here is just the Executive summary. I took the liberty of bolding a few parts. The link to the PDF is at the bottom of this post. There is a lot of good information here.|
BROADBAND: A 21st CENTURY TECHNOLOGY AND PRODUCTIVITY STRATEGY
Broadband deployment must become a national priority. Major economic growth and
productivity gains can be realized by making affordable high-speed broadband Internet
connections – which are already enjoyed by many universities and large businesses – widely
available to American homes, schools, and small businesses.
In a soft economic climate with limited prospects for near-term recovery, broadband
deployment is a necessary condition for the restoration of capital spending in the information
technology sector. Such investments were the critical drivers of the non-inflationary growth
that characterized the late 1990s. Broadband, which can play a pivotal role in encouraging
investments in information technology, has the potential to transform education, health care,
government, entertainment, and commerce.
Of course, embracing broadband as a vehicle for economic growth raises the question,
“How fast is fast enough for truly advanced emerging applications?” The telecom,
cable, and satellite industries are now providing Internet access at speeds typically less than
1.5 megabits per second (Mbps). A review of existing and likely technologies, however,
suggests that we have only achieved the first level of broadband speeds. On the foreseeable
horizon are technologies that offer advanced broadband speeds of 10 Mbps in the near-term,
and 100 Mbps in the medium-term. A national strategy needs to focus on this advanced
broadband opportunity. Arguably, it will be at these advanced speed ranges that the greatest
benefits from broadband will come.
A successful strategy to accelerate the deployment of broadband will lead to
immeasurable benefits to the quality of life and economy of the American people. But a
successful strategy must encompass various issues in a comprehensive and coherent manner,
and the debate must not become mired in any one debate. What we need is a sensible,
intelligent approach that addresses the full range of issues within the context of an
interrelated framework, not the piecemeal process that has brought us to the present
confusion and controversies.
This strategy must recognize a truth that sometimes becomes lost in the multiplicity
of debates over such issues as the regulation of telephone and cable companies. What is
overlooked – and must be recognized – is that demand will drive the next phase of broadband
expansion. Strong demand from consumers, smaller businesses, and even big businesses that
currently have high-speed Internet connectivity, will produce a cycle of innovation and
growth. But demand, in turn, requires that applications of real value be developed. It
requires, in other words, “killer applications” that justify, in the minds of consumers, the
price of progressively faster broadband connections.
The private sector will need to invest hundreds of billions of dollars before
widespread broadband access becomes a reality. Government nevertheless has an important
role to play as broadband suppliers face novel challenges in the areas of Internet privacy,
security, spam, copyright protection, spectrum allocation, and rights-of-way. It is vital that,
in these and other areas, government remain “technology-neutral” and that competition
between the delivery technologies exist alongside competition within the technologies. This
will allow the best and most cost-effective delivery systems to emerge, meeting the varied
needs of different people and different regions across this diverse country.
There are, however, many ways that government, through a national strategy, can
accelerate the life cycle of development and competition for emerging broadband
technologies. It can do so by stimulating both the demand and supply side of broadband
deployment. On the demand side, government should lead the way in generating demand by
expanding e-government services to the public and to businesses, and by supporting the
development of broadband tools for e-education and e-healthcare. E-entertainment and ecommerce
will be quick to take advantage of the expanded services, and renewed economic
growth will surely follow. On the supply side, government can consider such tools as tax
credits, loans, and grants for a wide variety of research, deployment, and broadband
As the first in a series of legislative initiatives, Senator Lieberman will introduce the
National Broadband Strategy Act of 2002. This bill highlights the need for a coherent and
comprehensive national strategy for providing widespread availability of broadband and for
motivating research and advances in broadband applications and content. Because broadband
implementation has been piecemeal, and stalled in significant part because numerous
government agencies have failed to act quickly in deciding a wide range of broadband issues
now pending before them, the bill calls upon the Administration to recommend a coherent,
cross-agency national broadband strategy in a series of key government policy areas.
Parallel to that, and focusing on how we will get to truly advanced broadband speeds
(in the range of 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps), Senator Lieberman will introduce over the next few
months a series of substantive pieces of legislation addressing four key elements integral to a
national strategy for advanced broadband deployment.
The key elements are:
1. FCC REGULATORY FRAMEWORK: Direct the FCC to explore all of the
broadband deployment and delivery technology options to enable us to reach
advanced broadband speeds. Retaining technological neutrality, the FCC will be
asked to develop the regulatory framework to enable and implement a plan to
deploy this advanced Internet capability.
2. TAX CREDITS: Establish tax credits and incentives for a range of advanced
broadband deployment and broadband utilization efforts. These could include
credits for infrastructure deployment, equipment implementation, employee
utilization, installation in atypical settings, and innovative applications.
3. ADVANCED INFRASTRUCTURE R&D: Ensure that fundamental R&D issues
are tackled in a coordinated manner to overcome the scientific and technological
barriers to advanced widespread broadband deployment. The U.S. has already
established successful interagency and interdisciplinary initiatives under the
National Information Technology Research & Development Program to advance
critical IT technologies. We must leverage our existing expertise in these programs
to resolve fundamental obstacles to effective broadband deployment and hasten the
next generation of technologies. A cooperative R&D program, including
government, industry and universities, will be critical to advanced broadband.
4. APPLICATION R&D AND DEPLOYMENT: Require federal agencies to
undertake R&D and promote the development and availability of major
applications in areas where government plays a central role, including e-education,
e-medicine, e-government, e-science and homeland security. This could stimulate
demand for broadband and promote bridging of the digital divide consistent with
the missions of government agencies. And the government should lead by example
in moving to expand opportunities for broadband-based e-commerce in federal
procurement, bidding, and contracting.
While time and technology will not stop, and our nation’s eventual transformation
into a broadband society will occur regardless of what steps are taken today, it is ours to
choose whether we will be dragged into the next digital age resisting change, or whether we
lead others into a new era of economic promise. If we are to take control of our future, we
must begin by harnessing the power of broadband as a necessary tool for navigating a world
increasingly defined by the speed with which information changes and grows.