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NTIA Launches Broadband Study

The telecommunications-policy arm of the Department of Commerce is launching
a study on the state of broadband deployment in the United States and the
possible need to overhaul policies that might be thwarting the deployment of
high-speed networks by various companies.

The study, conducted by the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration, will be based on responses to numerous questions that will be
published soon in the Federal Register.

Many of the questions center on policies that affect incumbent local phone
companies, which have complained that Federal Communications Commission policies
are retarding their ability to invest in advanced networks.

In its request for comments, the NTIA asked whether phone-company pricing
rules need to be changed and whether changes can assure network access by
competitors.

The NTIA also asked whether it would be appropriate to regulate all providers
of advanced services -- cable, phone, satellite and wireless companies -- in the
same manner.

Although the FCC conducts a similar study every year and has many issues in
the NTIA proposed study under review, an NTIA spokesman said the agency wasn't
trying to duplicate the FCC's work.

'We do studies on all kinds of issues. This is an issue we are interested in
looking into. Broadband is a telecommunications issue. It is within our domain,'
NTIA spokesman Ranjit DeSilva said.

The NTIA is the principal adviser to President Bush on telecommunications
policy. The office is headed by Nancy Victory.