Panel Wants More Bucks for Info Tech

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Washington -- High-tech industry officials have pledged to
back President Clinton's plan to increase spending on information technology by $286
million.

Clinton's plan would provide more funding for
broadband-infrastructure research, officials said.

Members of the Computing Research Association and the
Technology Network joined officials from AT&T Corp., 3Com Corp. and MCI WorldCom Inc.
to urge Congress to approve technology funding for three government agencies.

The Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation
and the Department of Energy would receive a total of $80 million in technological
spending for research, security and scientific advances next year under the budget
proposal that is working its way through the House.

But the president, in his information-technology
initiative, wants to add more than $200 million to that total.

"It's a very small amount of money that we are
suggesting, but, I think, very important," AT&T chief technology officer David
Nagel said. "This is a first shot at trying to get the word out."

The panel said it supported the research goals of the
president's Information Technology Advisory Committee, which called for investments
in Internet infrastructure this year.

Increased funds for the National Science Foundation would
support research on network physics, covering optical and wireless technologies including
satellites, cable and bandwidth issues.

The House Appropriations Committee said it would like to
approve the president's budget requests for information technology, but doing so
would be fiscally irresponsible.

"The reality is that we are living within the budget
constraints of fiscal-year 1997, and we are having to prioritize," House
Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Elizabeth Morra said, adding that the
president's budget for next year was $42 billion above fiscal spending limits.

States News Service

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