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October 1, 2004
President Bush and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry have vowed to expand high-speed Internet access in the country and make more spectrum available, but executives and analysts see few differences in their telecommunications platforms.
The president says Americans should have universal, affordable access to broadband technology by 2007. Kerry has pledged to speed up the adoption of broadband access and ensure universal broadband for first emergency responders, such as police and fire departments, by the end of 2006.
One possible difference in the platforms:
Kerry has supported providing tax credits for investments in broadband technology in rural areas and inner cities; while Bush has endorsed the FCC’s decision to deregulate the broadband market, freeing the biggest local phone companies from having to share new networks with rivals.
Ron Cowles, vice president of Gartner Research, says it is unknown whether the candidates will make good on their broadband commitments.
“Those are mainly political positions at this moment,” he says. “Will they come to fruition? They will need legislation to do that and to get a law passed there is very difficult.”
Bush and Kerry have mostly steered clear of controversial telecom issues, such as Internet phone regulation.
John Windhausen, president of the Association for Local Telecommunications Services, is not surprised Kerry has been mum.
“These issues get awfully complicated very quickly and he’s hitting the high-level issues, but the politics in this industry are so intense for him to take a firm stand on one side or the other would not be wise because he would be … supporting one set of constituents at the expense of the other,” Windhausen says.
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