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Bush Urged to Name Broadband Czar

Claiming that leadership in high-speed Internet access is moving overseas, a
Washington, D.C.-area trade group is pressing President Bush to name a broadband
czar charged with ensuring that all Americans can tap into the Internet at
lightning speeds.

'We urge you to assign a member of your Cabinet with the responsibility of
leading the development of a national broadband policy and implementation
strategy,' said Mathew J. Flanigan, president of the Telecommunications Industry
Association, in an Oct. 4 letter to Bush.

Naming a top government official to advance broadband in the United States
was critical, Flanigan said, because it would spur progress in the education,
healthcare and teleworking sectors at a time when broadband penetration appears
to be leaping ahead in Japan, China and South Korea.

'This is not just a matter of telecommunications, but of fundamental economic
policy,' Flanigan said, adding that ubiquitous broadband deployment in the
United States could add $500 billion to the gross domestic product.

In addition to naming a broadband czar, the TIA also called on the White
House to adopt a nine-point program that included lifting network-sharing
requirements on phone companies and prohibiting government regulation of access
to high-speed cable-company networks.

These policies, Flanigan said, would help the U.S. economy to bounce back
from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

The TIA, which has 1,000 member companies, describes itself as the leading
trade association serving the communications and information-technology
industries. The group is based in Arlington, Va., a suburb of