-------- Original Message -------- Subject: Telecoms Say Web Funding For Unserved Falls Short Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2009 10:58:40 -0500 From: Ray T. Mahorney <coffee-craver@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> Reply-To: Blind-chit-chat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;> JANUARY 30, 2009 Telecoms Say Web Funding For Unserved Falls Short By AMOL SHARMA Wall Street Journalhttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB123326956344630723.html <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123326956344630723.html>
The funding that Congress is likely to set aside for build-outs of high-speed Internet in its economic-stimulus package falls short of what service providers say is required to reach rural and unserved areas, based on initial cost estimates by several companies. A trade group representing midsize telecom providers with 27 million customers says its members alone would require $6 billion to $6.5 billion to reach about 3.6 million homes in their territories that don't have high-speed Internet access. That includes Qwest Communications International Inc., which says its rural build-out would cost $3 billion, but doesn't include estimates from bigger providers such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., or any cable companies. The House passed a stimulus bill Wednesday that would include $6 billion in broadband grants. They could be used not just for first-time deployments in unserved areas but also for next-generation upgrades to existing networks. Legislation moving through the Senate includes a $9 billion grant program. Some public-interest groups had argued for a broadband stimulus in the tens of billions of dollars. Advocates say broadband deployment is critical to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. The U.S. has slipped to 15th place from fourth since 2001 in broadband penetration, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. There are no precise data on the number of unserved broadband households in the U.S., but a consumer survey by the Pew Internet Project found there were about 10 million. Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat who heads the House subcommittee on technology and the Internet, said other federal programs for rural broadband have shown that even a modest amount of grant money, used efficiently, can have an impact. "I'm not sure the claim can be made that this legislation will bring broadband to every last person in America," he said "But if we can improve the reach of broadband, that would be a major advancement." The main goal of the recovery package is job creation. Qwest says that by bringing Internet service to towns like Tombstone, Ariz., and Warm Springs, Ore., it could create tens of thousands of jobs, from network engineers to trench diggers who lay broadband lines in the ground. Qwest, which serves 14 states in the West and Midwest, says it is prepared to roll out digital subscriber line, or DSL, service with download speeds of 7 megabits per second, faster than the 5-megabit standard the House and Senate are likely to mandate. The Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance, the group of mid-tier phone companies, said its cost estimate was predicated on a slower speed of 1.5 megabits per second, which would be easier for most of its members to offer. Meeting the higher standard in the legislation would make rollouts more costly, said Curt Stamp, the group's president. Gene Kimmelman, vice president of federal policy at Consumers Union, said it isn't surprising that there isn't an enormous amount of broadband funding in legislation whose main purpose is to stimulate the economy. "I'm not displeased at the size of the investment, he said. "Given the other things consumers need, I don't think broadband was as important." Cable providers have taken issue with the standard the Senate bill uses for a next-generation service -- one with download speeds of 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of 20 megabits per second -- which they say would favor the fiber-optic networks used by Verizon, according to people close to the cable industry. Verizon declined to comment. Cable providers also want to see money directed mainly at unserved areas. "Most of the monies people are talking about in terms of the broadband stimulus package would be needed just to solve that problem," said Kyle McSlarrow, president and chief executive of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. The Senate bill also includes limited tax credits -- 20% of investments in unserved areas and 20% of investments in next-generation services in underserved markets, which are defined essentially as low-income areas. Phone companies say these incentives aren't big enough to attract investment by Internet service providers. They are pushing for credits in unserved areas closer to 50%. The Senate Finance Committee estimated thecost of the tax credits to the government at just $110 million over 10 years.
"This is about deploying broadband in small-town America, where the economics do not now -- and will not in the foreseeable future -- justify the expenditure for us," said Steve Davis, senior vice president of public policy at Qwest. __._,_.___Messages in this topic <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blind-chit-chat/message/89310;_ylc=X3oDMTM1MjJzYXNnBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEbXNnSWQDODkzMTAEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDdnRwYwRzdGltZQMxMjMzNDE3NTI3BHRwY0lkAzg5MzEw> (1) Reply (via web post) <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blind-chit-chat/post;_ylc=X3oDMTJwbmF2dnQxBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEbXNnSWQDODkzMTAEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDcnBseQRzdGltZQMxMjMzNDE3NTI3?act=reply&messageNum=89310> | Start a new topic <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blind-chit-chat/post;_ylc=X3oDMTJkaXJubnFpBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDbnRwYwRzdGltZQMxMjMzNDE3NTI3> Messages <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blind-chit-chat/messages;_ylc=X3oDMTJkN2FuOGJhBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDbXNncwRzdGltZQMxMjMzNDE3NTI3> | Files <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blind-chit-chat/files;_ylc=X3oDMTJlZ3E0MzZoBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDZmlsZXMEc3RpbWUDMTIzMzQxNzUyNw--> | Photos <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blind-chit-chat/photos;_ylc=X3oDMTJkNmhvMXU0BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDcGhvdARzdGltZQMxMjMzNDE3NTI3> | Links <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blind-chit-chat/links;_ylc=X3oDMTJlcGJmOGplBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDbGlua3MEc3RpbWUDMTIzMzQxNzUyNw--> | Database <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blind-chit-chat/database;_ylc=X3oDMTJiYWFib2lrBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDZGIEc3RpbWUDMTIzMzQxNzUyNw--> | Polls <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blind-chit-chat/polls;_ylc=X3oDMTJlYjFxZ2twBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDcG9sbHMEc3RpbWUDMTIzMzQxNzUyNw--> | Calendar <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blind-chit-chat/calendar;_ylc=X3oDMTJjMmI0NmdoBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzMxMDU1NARncnBzcElkAzE3MDUxODkwNTIEc2VjA2Z0cgRzbGsDY2FsBHN0aW1lAzEyMzM0MTc1Mjc->
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