Chairman Stevens Sees Communications Reform Bill as Measure to Speed Broadband Deployment

May 5, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) today received the Government Accountability Office (GAO)’s report detailing certain shortcomings in broadband deployment and penetration in the . In response, Chairman Stevens urged his colleagues to support S. 2686, the Communications, Consumers’ Choice and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006, which respond to many of the GAO report’s findings.

The GAO report found that only 28 percent of American households subscribe to broadband Internet service, another 30 percent subscribe only to dial-up service, and 41 percent of American households are not connected to the Internet at all.  The GAO report also found that rural Americans are much less likely to subscribe to broadband than those living in cities. In all, only 17 percent of rural households have to broadband service.

“The disparity of broadband deployment between rural and urban America cited in the GAO report raises serious concerns,” said Chairman Stevens. “High-speed Internet access is absolutely essential to all Americans, whether you live in Manhattan or a remote village in Alaska . Numerous provisions in the Communications, Consumers’ Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006 focus on addressing this broadband deployment problem.” 

S. 2686 helps bring high-speed Internet access to rural areas by creating incentives for broadband deployment, and specifically creating a $500 million fund to speed the deployment of broadband to unserved areas.


In addition, the Communications, Consumers’ Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of speeds broadband deployment and adoption by:

  • introducing more competition in the market for a bundle of services, including phone, video and broadband, leading to lower prices and better broadband options for more Americans;

  • allowing unlicensed devices, which would provide communities with wireless broadband and home networking services, to operate in the portions of the television broadcast spectrum not being used by the television broadcasters; and

  • permitting municipal broadband services.