President Bush’s 2004 campaign statement that America should have “universal, affordable access for broadband technology by the year 2007” hasn’t come to fruition. So I thought I’d pay a visit to the leading presidential contenders’ websites to see what they say about broadband policy. See if you can guess who said what:
A The country that developed the internet is now 16th in the world in broadband penetration. While half of urban and suburban households have broadband, less than a third of rural homes do. Candidate will set a national broadband policy to help make the Internet more affordable and accessible to all Americans, regardless of where they live or how much money they have. Universal broadband would stimulate job creation and result in up to $500 billion in economic benefits. The starting place is setting a goal of giving all U.S. homes and businesses access to real high-speed internet by 2010. Candidate will establish a national broadband map to identify gaps in availability, price, and speed; create public-private partnerships to promote deployment; require providers not to discriminate against rural and low-income areas and to improve accessibility for people with disabilities; support and expand the e-rate program; encourage local service providers and municipal wireless projects, and use the newly available 700 megahertz spectrum and broadcast television white space to support wireless networks that can connect with all digital devices.B No broadband statement found. C No broadband statement found. D Candidate believes that America should lead the world in broadband penetration and Internet access. As a country, we have ensured that every American has access to telephone service and electricity, regardless of economic status, andCandidate will do likewise for broadband Internet access. Full broadband penetration can enrich democratic discourse, enhance competition, provide economic growth, and bring significant consumer benefits. Moreover, improving our infrastructure will foster competitive markets for Internet access and services that ride on that infrastructure. Candidate believes we can get true broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nationÃ¢â?¬â?¢s wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives. E No broadband statement found. F Under the Bush administration, the country that invented the Internet has slipped to 25th in the global rankings for broadband deployment. In order to accelerate the deployment of sophisticated networks, Candidate proposes that the federal government provide tax incentives to encourage broadband deployment in underserved areas. Candidate also proposes financial support for state and local broadband initiatives. Various municipal broadband initiatives are underway around the country to accelerate the deployment of high speed networks. The initiatives are useful for education, commerce, technology development, and the efficient provision of municipal services. G No broadband statement found. Whether the metric is broadband penetration or broadband deployment, three of the candidates seem to agree that broadband is an issue worthy of concern. The other four either aren’t as concerned about the state of America’s broadband capabilities, are satisfied that the market will take care of any imbalances in broadband deployment, don’t want to make vague promises, or simply figure that for most Americans it is not an important enough issue to merit space on a campaign website. For the record: A = Edwards D = Obama F = Clinton I could find no mention of broadband on the Giuliani, Huckabee, McCain, or Romney sites.