Adelstein: Broadband deployment top priority

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New Federal Communications Commission member Jonathan Adelstein said Tuesday that one of his top
priorities will be speeding broadband deployment in rural areas and around the
country.

Deployment will help to revive the sagging telecommunications industry and bring
more high-speed services to rural and other underserved areas, the South Dakota
native said.

"We're facing enormous challenges," he said in his first briefing with
reporters. "We can't afford in the country to have weakness in the
telecommunications sector."

Adelstein, who was sworn in Dec. 3, is so new to the job that he hasn't put any
books on his shelves or pictures on his walls.

Commenting on the 10-month delay between his nomination and Senate approval
for his post, Adelstein noted that the Senate is thought of a most deliberative
chamber of Congress.

"I know it certainly was with me," he quipped.

On media issues, Adelstein was particularly circumspect.

He applauded the FCC's decision to hold a field hearing on industry
concentration, but he would only say, "There is no more important issue that we're
faced with" than the pending rewrite of ownership rules.

Regarding commissioner Michael Copps' effort to clamp down on broadcast
indecency, Adelstein said his fellow Democrat has "raised some important
issues."

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