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COMMUNET Home

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COMMUNET  October 2002, Week 1

COMMUNET October 2002, Week 1

Subject:

fyi,[Fwd: [Openspectrum] Senate hears plea for broadband subsidy]

From:

"W. Curtiss Priest" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Community and Civic Network discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 2 Oct 2002 09:20:45 -0400

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (118 lines) , message/rfc822 (118 lines)

At the last minute I posted the URL for the Senate Commerce
hearings on telecommunications and spectrum.

I managed to catch the last hour, and there was a lot of
quality exchange in the session.

Here is a review of the comments courtesy of Dewayne Hendricks
posted to [log in to unmask]

["fair use," "teachable moment," "archival," Section 107(a), 1976
Copyright Act and 1998 Digital Millennium Act]

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/print_story.asp?print=1&guid={ABC0F9C2-23A0-4FFC-A29B-B468FAA66A35}&siteid=myyahoo

Senate hears plea for broadband subsidy

By Kristin English, Medill News Service Last Update: 6:58 PM ET Oct. 1,
2002

WASHINGTON (CBS.MW) -- It will take a hefty government subsidy and an
industry shakeout to bring about widespread use of fast, wireless
Internet connections, experts told a Senate committee Tuesday.

"This is a time when the government can play a critical role," said
Reed Hundt, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission
and one of several witnesses before the Senate Commerce Committee.

Wide implementation of wireless broadband technology at a reasonable
price could help the industry out of its slump, panelists said, after
500,000 layoffs in recent years and the loss of $2 trillion in market
value.

Hundt said a vast broadband network linking all American households
and businesses needs to be in place for the industry to remain
competitive with overseas rivals. He said that less than 15 percent
of American households and small businesses subscribe to broadband
service, compared with more than 40 percent of Korean households.

Broadband wireless

Craig Mundie, chief technical officer at Microsoft (MSFT: news,
chart, profile), told the senators that the government should "foster
a third mode of broadband communications into the home" in addition
to cable and telephone lines by making more over-the-air spectrum
available for wireless devices.

Stanford University law Prof. Lawrence Lessig, a well-known writer on
technology issues, supported Mundie's ideas and compared his vision
for the future of broadband to the current standard for the
electrical network, in which a user can plug any brand of television
into a socket and have it work.

But Peter Huber, a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute,
disagreed with the need for government support.

"The broadband policies we have put in place have remained an
unmitigated disaster," Huber said. "Time after time, the high-tech
industry has learned that the most important thing to get things
moving is growth. What we got instead with the policies we put in
place is a bubble of foolish investment."

Competition and government support

Michael Price, a telecom venture-capital investor, said there are too
many companies in the industry right now. "Six, seven or eight
competitors are too many for a maturing, capital-intensive industry,"
he said. "The European market provides evidence that the existence of
three or four competitors still maintains a high degree of
competition."

Funding for a mass deployment of broadband wireless technology will
require government assistance, the panelists said, because the
industry is now too broke to pay for it.

Hundt admitted that a broadband network would be expensive to
implement, but compared its development to the development of the
national road system in the 1920s.

"Did America want to wait to build roads until after every garage had
a car? Not at all," Hundt said. "Even while Ford's cars were pouring
out of factories in the 1920s, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover
used government leadership to build a network of roads linking every
town and city in the country."

"There are two choices that we have to make," Hundt said. "Do we
adopt a policy of monopoly or do we stick with a policy of
competition? The right policy is competition, but the essential extra
to a competitive policy is to have the government look at broadband
and decide to invest."

Price outlined a plan in which the government would pay a
$300-per-subscriber subsidy to a service provider that supplies
high-speed service for less than $30 per month for three years.

"We need a technology New Deal," Price said.

Huber, though, disagreed with such a subsidy.

"This Congress cannot pay their way to that end. That will have to
come from the private sector," he said.

Senators agreed that some action was needed.

"The telecom industry is in a tailspin," Sen. John Breaux, D-La.,
said. "We can't sit back and watch one of the most important
industries go down the tank"

Kristin English is a reporter for the Medill News Service in Washington.
--


           W. Curtiss Priest, Director, CITS
      Center for Information, Technology & Society
         466 Pleasant St., Melrose, MA  02176
         Voice: 781-662-4044  [log in to unmask]
      Fax: 781-662-6882 WWW: http://Cybertrails.org

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