And the lobbying starts. A group calling itself the U.S. Broadband Coalition is calling for “a national plan to bridge the digital divide and harness the potential of broadband-enabled communications for businesses, schools and individuals.”
The Coalition, apparently a new organization, is heavy with telecom companies and vendors. It advocates several broad principles, few of which are in dispute.
Nor is the group advocating for any specific measures. It notes that other countries have profited by adopting comprehensive policies for broadband that include “tax incentives, low-interest loans, subsidies, public-private partnerships, competition policy, and many other forms of direct and indirect support by all levels of government.” The full document is available here.
The organization acknowledges its recommendations are merely a first step.
The Coalition’s recommendations include:
- Every American home, business, and public and private institution should have access to affordable high-speed broadband connections to the Internet.
- Access to the Internet should, to the maximum feasible extent, be open to all users, service providers, content providers and application providers.
- Network operators must have the right to manage their networks responsibly, pursuant to clear and workable guidelines and standards.
- The Internet and broadband marketplace should be as competitive as reasonably possible.
- U.S. broadband networks should provide Americans with the network performance, capacity and connections they need to compete successfully in the global marketplace.
Vendors in the coalition include Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Enablence, Intel and Telcordia. Service providers include AT&T, Clearwire and Google. Organizations include the CTIA, the Fiber To The Home Council and the NCTA. The full list of those signing the document is available here.
The American Cable Association threw its support behind the group. ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said, “The prioritization of a national broadband strategy is long overdue, and 2009 should mark the beginning of the end for broadband disparity for individuals throughout the country, particularly in unserved communities.”
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