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Bush embraces broadband agenda

President George W. Bush finally said the word "broadband" in public and,
for now, that's enough for the high-tech community.

After a day of panels with 100 high-tech CEOs -- including AOL Time Warner
Inc. chairman Steve Case and AT&T Corp. chairman C. Michael Armstrong -- Bush
said the administration recognizes that one of the "keys to recovery on the
economic side is a strong and vibrant high-tech industry."

Bush also said, "This country must be aggressive about the expansion of
broadband -- we have to."

The high-tech community
has been pushing the administration to make a statement regarding broadband since January.

In fact, they were hoping Bush would mention it during his State of the Union
address, but his staff decided at the last minute that the administration wasn't
ready to take any position on the subject.

Still, details on the administration's broadband policy remain vague, but the
President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology plans to
release a more specific report this fall.

The high-tech community wants the administration to endorse a policy that
aims at deploying networks at speeds of 100 megabits per second for all
Americans within a decade.

"Of course, a lot of the action is going to come
through the FCC [Federal Communications Commission]," Bush said.

"And I'm confident that the chairman and the commission are focusing on
policies that will bring high-speed Internet service, will create competition
and will keep the consumers in mind," he added.

As for FCC representation, commissioner Kevin Martin -- who used to serve
on the White House staff and who helped with the Bush campaign -- attended the

"The cable industry looks forward to providing any
assistance that might be of help in achieving the president's goals," said Rob
Stoddard, spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

"The technology is on track to support the president's broadband
vision," he added.