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Internet Providers Move to Shape Broadband Push

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U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and Congressional lawmakers want to improve the quality and availability of high-speed Web access in the United States. Some of the issues under consideration include what speed Congress should define as broadband, and whether government money should be used only in areas that have no broadband access or if money should be used to subsidize upgrades to existing networks. Large cable operators want the FCC to increase its definition of broadband download speed to about five megabits per second, about 6.5 times as fast as the current definition. Internet service providers also want to receive incentives to build out next-generation services to underserved areas where there is only a single broadband provider or broadband is not widely available. Download speeds that qualify as next-generation broadband would probably be around 40 to 50 megabits per second, according to sources close to the discussion. Equipment manufacturers also would benefit from widespread network upgrades. Calix CEO Carl Russo says Congress should define broadband as 10 megabits per second so any networks built now will support any broadband-heavy applications that arise in the future, such as high-definition video. "Remember, you only get to do this once, so you want to build the widest highway possible," Russo says.

From The Wall Street Journal
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