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Obama Team: No Broadband Plan in Stimulus Package

President-elect Barack Obama may want broadband for all, but it’s not going to happen just with the $800 billion economic stimulus plan being debated in Congress right now.

Former FCC official and Obama transition team member Blair Levin, speaking at the “State of the Net” conference on Wednesday, said the economic stimulus package is meant to address very short-term goals, and should not be read as including provisions for addressing the long-term goal of universal broadband.

“In thinking of broadband in the economic stimulus package, don’t confuse a piece of puzzle with the puzzle,” said Levin. “Don’t look at an inning of the baseball game as the baseball game. The Obama broadband agenda is not being done solely in the economic recovery package.”

Making good on that agenda will take a series of “iterative” moves, he noted, declining to talk specifics. The economic stimulus package is a start, but only just that: a start.

Obama has said that bolstering broadband penetration as a big priority for his administration, with wireless technology on deck as one of the ways to accomplish it.

The news comes amid a now-denied rumor that Verizon Communications Inc. is ditching copper in favor of all-fiber home connections, which inevitably sparked an industry-wide discussion of what the future of broadband should look like in this country.


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