Bush calls for broadband for all by 2007

US president George W Bush called for universal and affordable access to broadband internet service by 2007, hoping that the...

US president George W Bush called for universal and affordable access to broadband internet service by 2007, hoping that the technology would speed the flow of information and spark innovation.

 "It's important that we stay on the cutting edge of technological change, and one way to do so is to have a bold plan for broadband," Bush said at Expo New Mexico last week.

Bush made a call to keep broadband prices low and added that "congress must not tax access to broadband technology if we want to spread it around".

Bush linked the government's broadband push with "keeping the entrepreneurial spirit strong" and helping people realise dreams such as starting a business or owning a home.

Making broadband a centrepiece of his technology agenda, Bush has supported an extension of the internet tax ban and has appointed leaders to promote broadband's development and use.

However, figures released by  the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in December show the rate of broadband growth in the US slowed last year

The number of high-speed internet connections increased 23% in the last half of 2002, but grew by only 18% in the first half of 2003, the FCC reported. For the year ending 30 June 2003, high-speed lines increased 45% to 23.5 million.

Technology researcher IDC forecasted that broadband subscription growth in the US will continue to slow through 2007.

The researcher also forecasted a worldwide slowdown in high-speed internet subscription growth, from 36.4% this year to 16.3% in 2007.

Bush believed that lower prices will be crucial in kick-starting broadband adoption.

"The more the price goes down, the more users there will be," he said.

Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service

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