Sen. Joseph Lieberman -- the Connecticut Democrat considering a 2004
presidential bid if former Vice President Al Gore declines to run -- unveiled
broadband-deployment proposals Tuesday apparently designed to coax the Bush
White House into moving aggressively in ensuring widespread availability of
high-speed Internet services.
Lieberman plans to introduce two bills, according to a press release.
One calls on the Bush administration to develop within six months 'a
coherent, cross-agency broadband strategy to eliminate obstacles, create
incentives and encourage industry innovation.'
A second bill would use a mix of tax credits and research-and-development
grants, coupled with new policies at the Federal Communications Commission, to
guarantee broadband speeds ranging from 10 megabits per second to 100 mbps all
across the country.
'Many in Washington have been focusing, almost myopically, on short-term
obstacles to the next small jump in speed,' Lieberman said in a prepared
statement. 'I think we need real vision here.'
Other Capitol Hill Democrats, such as Commerce Committee chairman Fritz
Hollings (D-S.C.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), asserted that deployment of
high-speed Internet facilities is not the issue because such facilities are
available to an estimated 80 percent of U.S. households.
They said the focus should be on consumer adoption of broadband-access
service, given the fact that about 10 million homes have signed up for the
service so far.