One more tech group pushes Bush

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Computer makers are adding their voice to a growing push for a policy
statement on broadband from the Bush administration.

Several tech-company CEOs -- including Dell Computer Corp.'s Michael Dell,
Intel Corp.'s Craig Barrett, Motorola Inc.'s Chris Galvin and NCR Corp.'s Lars
Nyberg -- spent the past two days meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney,
director of homeland security Tom Ridge, White House chief of staff Andrew Card,
House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and other key members of Congress and the
administration to promote their ideas.

'We want a declaration of a broad and aggressive vision on broadband for the
country,' Galvin said.

Technology companies are at least partly pushing for this because they
believe an established policy would persuade companies to invest in and roll out
a high-speed infrastructure more quickly.

That should encourage companies to develop broadband applications, which
should give the faltering economy a boost, Galvin said.

The CEOs want the administration to set a goal that by the end of next year,
80 percent of U.S. homes will be able to access the Internet at speeds of 1.5
megabits per second and 50 percent of homes will be able to get 6 mbps from at
least two providers.

By the end of the decade, the CEOs said, 100 million homes should be able to
access speeds of 100 mbps.

Comparably, high-definition television transmits at speeds of 19.4 mbps.

The average Internet connection is currently 56 kilobits per second. Services
now called broadband run between 250 kbps and 900 kbps.

The proposal, put forward by the Computer Systems Policy Project, has the
same overarching goal as one released last week by Tech Net, another group of
tech-company CEOs.

One difference, however, is that the CSPP's proposal strongly emphasizes
wireless technologies.

The CSPP suggested the creation of a federal interagency National Spectrum
Management Policy Group to work toward freeing up 120 megahertz of spectrum for
broadband purposes by 2004 and another 80 percent by 2010.

This could mean that the government will want to push broadcasters off their
analog spectrum even more quickly while it searches for some free spectrum to
assign to wireless broadband providers.

Wireless broadband requires large chunks of spectrum, and most of what is
available in the United States already is being used.

The administration is currently working hard to develop a broadband policy,
the CEOs said, but no one knows when the White House will be ready to announce
one.

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