Tuesday, July 22, 2008

U.S. should regard broadband as information utility and ensure universal access, congressman says

This from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the Federal Communications Commission's July 21 hearing held in Pittsburgh, PA:

U.S. Representative Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, who help to organize the event, said the hearing was intended to address two major concerns -- the so-called "digital divide" between those who have broadband access and those who don't, and "net neutrality," or the openness of the Internet.

Rep. Doyle favors a "guarantee of universal service" similar to telephone service, that views the Internet as a type of information utility. Making broadband Internet service available to all "has to be a joint effort by the federal government and the private sector," he said.

Along with universal service, he said, the United States needs "a policy that establishes basic core principles for the Internet" to ensure that service providers do not become "gatekeepers" who can restrict users access.

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