Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hilary Clinton takes up broadband access cause

In the late 1960s, the federal government devised the Internet. Now it's time for the feds to speed its deployment in areas of the U.S. that lack broadband service, argues blogger Pretson Gralla.

Gralla puts in a plug for legislation by Sen. Hilary Clinton, who frames the issue in the context of helping her upstate New York constituents, many of whom live in broadband black holes. However, given Mrs. Clinton's former first lady status and much rumored presidential ambitions, her championing efforts to bridge the digital divide could put the issue in the national spotlight.

Mrs. Clinton's bill would create an Office of Rural Broadband Initiatives at the Department of Agriculture to provide grants and loan programs to spur investment in broadband infrastructure in underserved rural areas. It would also create a Rural Broadband Innovation Fund which would invest in broadband services to rural areas including satellite, fiber, WiFi, and broadband over power lines (BPL).

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