Telcos, groups draw up national broadband strategy

A coalition of diverse groups join together to issue a "call to action" for the next administration and Congress to implement a national broadband plan.

Stephanie Condon Staff writer, CBSNews.com
Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.
Stephanie Condon
2 min read

Updated at 6:30 p.m. PST with report on economic stimulus plan.

Telecom and tech companies joined with labor unions, public interest groups, and other organizations Tuesday to issue a "call to action" (PDF) for a national broadband strategy.

The coalition (PDF) is asking for President-elect Barack Obama and the next Congress to make national broadband deployment a top priority in 2009 and has set forth a framework for successfully implementing a broadband plan.

"The national broadband strategy should set out several clear, forward-looking, and attainable goals that take into account the ability of broadband to generate huge benefits in education, environmental protection, scientific research, medicine, health care, energy efficiency, transportation, and overall economic vitality," the call to action reads.

Those goals, it says, should include ensuring that every American home, business, and public and private institution has access to affordable, high-speed broadband and that Internet access is open to all providers and users. It also says network operators should have the right to manage their networks according to clear standards, and the broadband market should be as competitive as possible.

To meet those goals, the federal government should stimulate broadband investment, the coalition says, by means such as tax incentives, grants, or subsidies. It should also encourage broadband adoption among consumers, the coalition says.

The group, which includes Cisco Systems, Verizon, Google, the New America Foundation, Public Knowledge, the American Library Association, and others, intends to continue working together and will present more specific policy recommendations in the spring of 2009.

Meanwhile, the federal government's economic stimulus package is expected to include investment in broadband Internet infrastructure, a senior aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.