US mulls $6bn broadband commitment

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US mulls $6bn broadband commitment

The US House of Representatives is considering a plan to invest US$6bn in expanding the nation's broadband internet system.

A recent proposal from the House Appropriations Committee suggests that the country invest the money to fill gaps in rural and underdeveloped parts of the country where commercial broadband has yet to penetrate the market.

The proposed funding is part of a larger package designed to spark economic growth in science and technology.

An additional US$10bn is being proposed for investment in scientific research facilities.

"For every dollar invested in broadband the economy sees a ten-fold return on that investment," committee member Dave Obey said in a written summary of the plan.

"We need to put scientists to work looking for the next great discovery, creating jobs in cutting-edge-technologies, and making smart investments that will help businesses in every community succeed in a global economy."

Federal funding for broadband and telecommunications networks has long been a hotly-contended issue in the US, particularly in sparsely-populated rural areas where commercial providers have been hesitant to invest in cable and wireless broadband coverage.

The plan also calls for US$32bn to spent on developing "smart" energy grids and $1bn to improve technology in schools, raising the possibility of even more investment for the IT industry.
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