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Broadband Stimulus

Both President-Elect Barack Obama and Congressional leaders have discussed including government support to promote high-speed broadband access as part of the upcoming economic stimulus package. This has prompted a flood of proposals and ideas from advocates of all sides of the broadband debate. Economic stimulus should be timely, temporary and targeted. But who should this stimulus target and how can we spur investments that will create both short-term economic growth and long-term economic prosperity in the 21st century? Although there is consensus on the critical need for broadband stimulus, there are clear divides on how the money should be spent. Do we utilize tax subsidies or targeted grants? Who receives the subsidies? Should we provide subsidies to existing cable and telecom providers, or focus on supporting new competitors? Should we strictly target subsidies to spur build-out in rural or under-served areas? Are there speed requirements? Do we include local governments, community groups, and NGOs? What about programs to increase adoption?
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