A link to the bill mentioned in the article below.
Dawn DiPietro wrote:
I thought this would be of interest to the group.
Smith pitches 'Broadband for America Act'
Says bill would promote affordable rural networks
Posted: 7:36 AM, Apr. 25, 2006
Last Updated: 7:45 AM, Apr. 25, 2006
By KTVZ.com news sources
WASHINGTON - Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., addressed the National
Telecommunications Cooperative Association's Legislative and Policy
Conference on Tuesday and outlined his Broadband for America Act of
2006. The proposal is a ‘disciplined' and ‘directed' piece of
legislation that the Senate can swiftly pass to promote the
construction of new broadband networks in rural America.
"To succeed in a global marketplace American firms need access to
affordable broadband networks," Smith said. "Leaving outdated laws on
the books stalls job creation and inhibits the introduction of
wireless technology that can be utilized in parts of America today's
technology will never reach. Today's laws choke job creation with
regulation and hold back innovation that proves time and time again to
improve consumer's options."
Senator Smith's legislation promotes the construction of broadband
infrastructure by addressing the following critical issues:
--Burdensome Video Regulations: Will allow wireline video providers to
compete on equal footing by freeing them of unnecessary federal,
state, and local regulations that have inhibited their entrance into
the market. The legislation maintains local authority over rights of
way and local programming requirements.
--Universal Service Reform: Creates a new account to invest $500
million a year in broadband infrastructure for areas private
investment are reluctant to reach. Expands USF contributors to include
any company capable of supporting 2-way voice communication. Low
volume users and low income households would be exempted.
--Permanently Exempt USF Fund: Permanently exempts the Universal
Service Fund from the Anti-Deficiency Act, allowing programs like the
E-rate to continue.
--Municipal Broadband: Allows municipalities to band together and
offer affordable broadband service in areas where private companies
cannot or will not provide service.
--Wireless Broadband and White Spaces: Instructs the FCC to issue
final rules within six months allocating white spaces on an unlicensed
basis along with technical guidelines that prevent radio interference.
Final rules will break way for low-cost broadband service, especially
in rural areas too expensive to serve by wire.
Smith noted, "The Broadband for America Act is a targeted legislative
package that draws on the best thinking of Senators Rockefeller,
Dorgan Allen, Snowe, Lautenberg, McCain and myself. The bill combines
my Video Choice Act and Universal Service for the 21st Century Act
with Senator Allen's Wireless Innovation Act, Senator Snowe's
Anti-Deficiency Act bill and Senator Lautenberg and McCain's Community
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