Five-Year Program Would Provide Cheap, Universal High-Speed Internet Access

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WASHINGTON ( -- House Democrats today proposed an "innovation agenda" that includes as one of its platforms affordable broadband access in every home within five years.

Photo: AP
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said one goal of the plan is to 'put all Americans ... no more than a keystroke or mouse click away from jobs and opportunities.'
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today said the agenda is needed to keep the country the "most competitive and innovative nation in the world."

"Universal broadband will propel advanced Internet applications, such as distance learning, health IT, video-on-demand and voice over IP," the California Democrat said in a speech today at the National Press Club.

'A click away from jobs'
It "will put all Americans, no matter where they live, no more than a keystroke or a mouse click away from the jobs and opportunity broadband both creates and supports," Ms. Pelosi said.

The party's plan calls for creating a national broadband policy, promoting broadband to rural and underserved communities, and encouraging additional ways to access broadband through wireless and power line connections.

"Democrats will ensure that the U.S. has the world's most advanced telecommunications infrastructure to bridge the digital divide so that every American has access to affordable broadband Internet service and communications technology," Ms. Pelosi said.

Other initiatives
The "innovation agenda" also calls for educating 100,000 new scientists within four years; doubling funding for scientific research over five years; making America energy independent within 10 years; and improving the environment for small businesses.

Ms. Pelosi said Democrats view their agenda as drawing bipartisan support. "This is not about a Democratic agenda. We want Republicans to join us," she said.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., in a statement said it was the GOP that had been supporting a high-tech agenda that encourages innovation, while Democrats had supported higher taxes, litigation and regulation.

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