Infrastructure Programs: What's Different about Broadband? [January 22, 2009]   [open pdf - 288KB]

This CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report for Congress discusses the various characteristics of the Broadband network and its inclusion as an infrastructure program. "Broadband network deployment projects represent large scale, long term investments that affect the overall productivity of economic activity in the geographic areas in which they are built, and thus fit the conventional definition of infrastructure. But they also have several characteristics that distinguish them from traditional infrastructure projects. These unique characteristics may dictate that government programs in support of broadband deployment be structured differently than conventional infrastructure programs. [...] The leadership in both houses of Congress as well as the Obama administration have announced plans to include a broadband component in the infrastructure portion of any economic stimulus package. At the least, the unique characteristics of broadband infrastructure impose very complex policy objectives for any broadband infrastructure program -- to foster infrastructure investment that would not otherwise be made and to create additional jobs and spending, without distorting competition among the different broadband network technologies, without discouraging investment and innovation by independent applications providers that need access to broadband networks, and without subsidizing multiple inefficient providers unnecessarily."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R40149
Public Domain
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