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Front Page » April 24, 2008 » Local News » Utah congressman endorses free Internet access proposal
Published 2,719 days ago

Utah congressman endorses free Internet access proposal

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Sun Advocate community editor

On April 17, the office of United States Congressman Chris Cannon released details of a proposed bill that could have the nation enjoying free wireless Internet access within the next 10 years.

The Wireless Internet Nationwide Act, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California, "will not only help America make up lost ground in the global contest to adopt information and communications technologies," stated the Cannon release. "But it also opens new ways for family friendly protections to be implemented as a standard feature in advanced networks, recognizing the right to freedom of speech."

Cannon's statements upon introducing the legislation detailed his reasons for direct sponsorship.

"Access to the Internet continues to be cost-prohibitive for many in America's rural communities. The Federal Communications Commission holds the rights to the wireless spectrum that belong to the American people. This legislation requires the FCC to put up for auction spectrum that would implement technologies that allow better access to broadband and let parents know they won't get indecent and obscene material."

Once the FCC auctioned off the band width to the highest bidder, the winner would agree to build a network accessible by 95 percent of the United States within the next 10 years, according to the Cannon release.

Under the new measure, aside from offering the free broadband network, the network operator would also:

•Begin offering continuous broadband service within two years of receiving the license.

•Provide subscription, airtime, usage services free of charge.

•Ensure a speed of at least 200 kilobits per second transmission speeds in at least one direction. Minimum level DSL lines transmit at a speed of 768 kilobits per second, demonstrating that the speed of the new system could be an issue.

•Provide the free service with the inclusion of a protection measure for the benefit of underage users created to stop them from accessing obscene or indecent material.

•Publish royalty-free standards so that others can develop and deploy equipment that can operate on the network.

"The United States has fallen behind many other advanced nations, including other geographically large and diverse countries like Canada, in terms of broadband deployment and affordability," said Cannon. "This means that our workers, entrepreneurs and students are not getting the same access to competitive resources as their counterparts in other nations."

Cannon pulled no punches concerning how essential the broad access is to the country and especially those in rural areas. Currently, more than 100 million Americans do not have broadband at home and 69 percent of Americans living in rural areas do not have broadband connections.

"We must ensure that this alarming trend is reversed and that all Americans, including those living in our states in the west, have reliable and affordable high bandwidth broadband Internet connections," concluded Cannon.

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