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Michigan winning the broadband race

Michigan leads the nation in stimulating demand for broadband, according to a new report on state broadband policies.

Michigan leads the nation in stimulating demand for broadband, according to a new report on state broadband policies.

In a report issued Thursday, TechNet, an influential technology lobbying group based in Silicon Valley, said Michigan has developed the best strategy to reduce roadblocks and to spur customers to adopt broadband. The survey analyzed state regulations in 50 states to see whether their policies helped or hindered broadband adoption.

The top five states in TechNet's state broadband index were Michigan, Florida, Missouri, Texas and Ohio. California, often considered the most tech-savvy state, came in at number 14. The group did not release the bottom 25 states.

The study's authors praised Michigan for focusing on a comprehensive broadband strategy after 2001 figures indicated that the state and some of its cities were falling behind in broadband adoption. The survey said state policy makers have worked to lower barriers to investing in broadband and to offer tax incentives and other motivation for broadband deployment.

"The state of Michigan, commonly associated with traditional industry sectors, notably automobiles, has begun to position itself as a high-tech state," the report said.

For the past year, TechNet has urged governments to adopt policies to encourage broadband adoption, saying the move would bolster the nation's economy.

"A national strategy and supporting policies that encourage investment in a next-generation broadband infrastructure, applications and services will be essential if the U.S. is to maintain its global technological and economic leadership," the report's authors wrote.

The report said states in particular can help spawn broadband by removing hurdles to deployment, providing incentives for companies that provide broadband and offering e-government initiatives that will drive consumer demand.