House Bill Seeks $6B in Broadband Grants - Page 2

The committee admits the huge spending package will create a "large deficit for years to come," but without the spending the country faces the "risk of economic chaos. The economy is in such trouble that, even with passage of this package, unemployment rates are expected to rise to between eight and nine percent this year. Without this package, we are warned that unemployment could explode to near twelve percent."
Two of Washington's largest tech trade groups rushed to praise the introduction of the legislation.
"By putting together an economic stimulus proposal that recognizes the need to transform our economy through science and technology and create jobs for all Americans, the U.S. House of Representatives today has exercised true leadership," Phil Bond, president of the Technology Association of America, said in a statement.
Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, said in a statement: "CCIA supports this effort to bring high speed, affordable broadband to unserved areas and underserved communities. Some of the economic stimulus will come from the building of truly high speed network connections. But the greatest economic stimulus will come from people using this infrastructure to create new applications and other new economic activity."
Both the CCIA and the Open Internet Coalition, though, sounded a note of caution about the $6 billion to be spent on high-speed Internet connections.
"We believe the government can get the biggest bang for its buck if it makes sure the money isn't used to just make it cheaper for the big incumbent companies to deploy what they have already planned for these areas," Black said. "This expansion will be really successful if it allows local and regional new entrants who are willing to provide unserved and underserved communities with robust, open Internet access."
Markham Erickson, executive director of the Open Internet Coalition, added: "We will monitor this process carefully to help ensure policymakers finance truly open and high-speed Internet access and the money produces new construction. Resources should be spent on creating high-speed fiber networks. And funds should be prohibited for upgrades of existing equipment; priority should go to reach people who don't have access to broadband currently, and who are not covered by pre-existing build-out plans."