FC: Gephardt-Daschle letter to Bush: Broadband or bust!

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Jun 13 2002 - 14:31:41 PDT

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    [Clearly life would not be complete without a Properly Capitalized National 
    Broadband Policy. How else would companies know how to sell high speed 
    Internet access otherwise??? --Declan]
    From: "Leader, Democratic" <Democratic.Leaderat_private>
    Subject: re: Gephardt-Daschle Letter to President Bush on the Need for a 
    National Broadband Policy
    Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2002 13:22:16 -0400
                             NEWS FROM THE HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        House Democratic Leader 
    Richard A. Gephardt
    June 13, 
    H-204, U.S. Capitol
    Gephardt-Daschle Letter to President Bush on the Need for a National 
    Broadband Policy
                                                         June 12, 2002
    The President
    The White House
    Washington, D.C. 20500
    Dear Mr. President:
    As you convene the President's Council of Advisors on Science and 
    Technology this week, we write to urge you to take quick action on 
    articulating a national broadband policy.  We would welcome your leadership 
    in advancing a national plan for broadband and write to provide our ideas 
    for a successful effort.
    We have already set as our goal making broadband access available to every 
    American by the end of the decade.  On April 5, 2001, we announced a 
    detailed and substantial agenda called the "Congressional Democratic 
    E-Strategy for Economic Growth" for accomplishing that goal.  Among other 
    things, that agenda called for tax incentives, loans, grants, innovative 
    technology programs, support for the E-Rate and civilian research and 
    development funding, enhancing E-government and facilitating 
    telecommuting.  Much of that agenda has already been enacted, but more 
    remains to be done.
    We believe that bringing broadband and its benefits to more Americans is a 
    national imperative.  First, broadband holds a key to the nation's economic 
    growth.  As the use of technology and the Internet drove the productivity 
    growth and the fiscal surplus of the 1990s, the use of broadband can once 
    again vastly increase productivity, increasing economic growth and 
    standards of living.  Second, broadband is essential to maintaining our 
    international leadership.  Other nations are pushing ahead with ambitious 
    national broadband plans and the United States must be prepared to match 
    their efforts because the widespread use of new and innovative technologies 
    are not possible without a broadband connection.  Third, broadband is an 
    important piece of homeland security.  The proliferation of broadband 
    Internet connections can provide the bandwidth necessary for high-level 
    encryption, real-time first-response communications protocols and rapid 
    dissemination of complex medical information in the event of a 
    biological/chemical attack.  Lastly, there are myriad societal benefits 
    that can be realized through broadband.  Expert medical care and monitoring 
    can be provided to citizens confined to their home or in remote locations 
    through e-medicine solutions.  High quality educational resources can be 
    provided to resource strapped schools and children at home through distance 
    learning.  Pollution and road congestion can be greatly reduced through 
    increasing the number of teleworkers.
    In addressing the broadband issue, we urge you to take a multi-faceted 
    policy approach that includes promoting capital investment in broadband 
    infrastructure, stimulating broadband demand, enabling wireless broadband 
    and investing in the research and development of new technologies.  These 
    efforts should advance a range of broadband technologies, including cable 
    modems, DSL, satellite, fixed wireless, mobile wireless, fiber to the home 
    and others.  Throughout this effort, we also urge you to focus on next 
    generation technologies that will maximize the bandwidth available to 
    consumers.  We recognize that no one policy action or technology will be 
    sufficient, but if we can significantly advance each of these areas, we 
    believe the nation will soon see the benefits of broadband.
    In the past year, we have led efforts in Congress to move the broadband 
    agenda forward, as outlined in our E-Strategy.  We have won passage of the 
    largest program in U.S. history to promote broadband deployment to rural 
    areas, which will spur economic growth throughout Rural America.  The 
    initiative, enacted as part of the Farm Bill, will provide up to $750 
    million each year in low-cost loans to companies that provide high-speed 
    Internet service to rural communities that don't currently benefit from 
    it.  We have pressed for passage of a broadband tax credit (S.88 and H.R. 
    267) to increase broadband deployment in rural and underserved urban areas, 
    and won Senate Finance Committee approval of a tax credit approach.  The 
    Information Technology Industry Council estimates that a one-year version 
    of this credit would bring broadband access to 6 million homes.  We also 
    strongly supported the successful inclusion of an accelerated depreciation 
    provision in the economic stimulus legislation passed earlier this year in 
    order to increase capital investments in things such as broadband 
    While we believe the federal government should move forward in formulating 
    a national broadband policy, we also welcome and applaud important industry 
    leadership on this issue.  The Information Technology Industry Council has 
    released a detailed broadband policy plan, and TechNet and the Computer 
    Systems Policy Project have released broadband reports that set ambitious 
    broadband policy goals.  Likewise, the National Research Council's Computer 
    Science and Telecommunications Board, made up of some of the nation's 
    leading technology and academic leaders, has released an in-depth analysis 
    of broadband issues.  While you or we may differ in our approach or 
    emphasis, these efforts provide a helpful basis in considering a national 
    plan for broadband and demonstrate the commitment of the high tech industry 
    to helping government address this issue.
    The nation must have a plan to ensure that consumers have affordable 
    broadband Internet access at the maximum speeds, enabling them to 
    experience the full potential of the Internet and the information 
    technology revolution.  We look forward to working with you on such an effort.
                 Tom Daschle                                         Richard A. 
                 Senate Majority Leader                              House 
    Democratic Leader 
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