Markey Introduces Bill To Boost Broadband in Developing World

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced a bill to boost Obama Administration era Global Connect initiative, including through additional funding for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and with the goal of boosting access to broadband in developing countries.

The DIGITAL AGE (Driving Innovation and Growth in Internet Technology And Launching Universal Access to the Global Economy) Act  would include encouraging global "dig once" policies, spectrum re-use and promoting various Internet values like lower costs, a free and open 'net and nondiscriminatory access.

The bill would direct the State Department, USAID and other relevant agencies--that would include the FCC--to work with other government, financial institutions and private industry to:

• "encourage a competitive market for investment and innovation in internet infrastructure and services;
• "ensure effective, efficient, and transparent spectrum allocation;
• "encourage internet infrastructure sharing;
• "improve the affordability of internet access devices;
• "promote the creation of public access facilities;
• "encourage integration of internet backbone and other infrastructure into existing infrastructure projects supported by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and others, and;
• "encourage companies to adopt flexible policies infrastructure sharing and spectrum re-use."

Ajit Pai, the first Indian American FCC chair, this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona struck a nonbinding agreement to coordinate with his opposite number in India on issues including accelerating broadband deployment and spectrum policy for mobile broadband.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.