White House CTO Pledge Report on Innovation, Investment

Administration tech chief Aneesh Chopra tells Senate hearing that report will consider impact of Recovery Act's $7 billion in broadband grants
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White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra told a Senate
Commerce Committee hearing audience June 22 that he would have a report
within 60 days on the impact of the Recovery Act funding on investments,
innovation and access to capital.

That would include more than
$7 billion that is being handed out in broadband grants and loans
through the Commerce and Agriculture department.

The cable
industry has registered its problems with the broadband grant program.
In an interview with B&C, National Cable & Telecommunications
Association President Kyle McSlarrow called it a disaster, saying
billions were going to duplicate deployment and overbuild his members.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) pushed Chopra for that impact report,
saying it was important to find out the effect of that money on access
to capital.

Citing the FCC's National Broadband Plan, Sen. Mark
Udall (D-N.Mex.) asked whether the U.S. should come up with a national
innovation plan including identifying government policies that block
innovation, as well as seeking those that promote it.

Chopra
suggested that there was already such a strategy, one that was
constrained so that most of the innovation would be driven by the
private sector rather than from some kind of top-down industrial policy
model.

He said that strategy is to remove policy barriers
administratively, create more certainty in the market, and make sure the
country gets the right return on its investment.

The hearing
was a general one on "Innovation in America: Opportunities and
Obastacles," the goal of which was "to ask whether our nation has the
programs and policies in place to support innovation and stay
competitive."

That is the argument being made both for and
against the FCC's current initiatives to clarify broadband regulatory
oversight and expand and codify its network neutrality guidelines.

White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra told a Senate Commerce Committee hearing audience June 22 that he would have a report within 60 days on the impact of the Recovery Act funding on investments, innovation and access to capital.

That would include more than $7 billion that is being handed out in broadband grants and loans through the Commerce and Agriculture department.

The cable industry has registered its problems with the broadband grant program. In an interview with B&C, National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow called it a disaster, saying billions were going to duplicate deployment and overbuild his members.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) pushed Chopra for that impact report, saying it was important to find out the effect of that money on access to capital.

Citing the FCC's National Broadband Plan, Sen. Mark Udall (D-N.Mex.) asked whether the U.S. should come up with a national innovation plan including identifying government policies that block innovation, as well as seeking those that promote it.

Chopra suggested that there was already such a strategy, one that was constrained so that most of the innovation would be driven by the private sector rather than from some kind of top-down industrial policy model.

He said that strategy is to remove policy barriers administratively, create more certainty in the market, and make sure the country gets the right return on its investment.

The hearing was a general one on "Innovation in America: Opportunities and Obastacles," the goal of which was "to ask whether our nation has the programs and policies in place to support innovation and stay competitive."

That is the argument being made both for and against the FCC's current initiatives to clarify broadband regulatory oversight and expand and codify its network neutrality guidelines.

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