Sunday, April 12, 2009

Verizon: Broadband Stimulus Should Focus on Unserved Areas and Demand-Side Obstacles

Ninety percent (90% of U.S. households already have access to broadband, and, of the households that have computers, 80 percent of them subscribe to broadband services

In recommendations filed with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), , Verizon said the $7 billion-plus broadband stimulus program should focus on two key objectives: extending broadband Internet connections to unserved areas, and addressing demand-side factors that hamper growth of broadband subscriptions, such as the lack of a computer in many households.

Verizon suggested three principles to guide the broadband stimulus program, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: Be open to a wide range of projects to help finish what has already been started; rely on state and local expertise in identifying unserved areas; and maintain transparency and accountability.

Verizon also stressed the need for quick action on the part of the agencies cooperating to produce an economic stimulus, and the importance of administering the programs in a way that encourages broad participation.

"In reliance on the light-touch regulatory approach designed to encourage network investment, broadband providers have invested hundreds of billions of dollars - and employed hundreds of thousands of employees - to deploy wireline and wireless broadband networks widely throughout the vast majority of the country," Verizon told the agencies. "Notwithstanding these successes, work remains to be done to achieve ubiquitous broadband availability and adoption."

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