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U.S. Broadband Policy Exists -- And Works, Claims NTIA's Gallagher

ASPEN, Colo. -- Contrary to popular belief, the United States does have a coherent broadband policy and it is working, according to NTIA administrator Michael Gallagher.

In both a panel discussion and follow-on interviews Tuesday here at the Progress & Freedom Foundation’s Aspen Summit, Gallagher defended the Bush administration’s strategies and efforts to promote the growth of broadband services, actions that were under general assault from a number of speakers at the gathering.

One of the most direct criticisms came from Nortel CEO Bill Owens, who told the audience in his Tuesday morning keynote that he didn’t see much in the telecom vision-thing from the current administration.

“I do believe we need a higher [telecom] vision for America,” said Owens, who held up the high-speed broadband deployments in countries like Korea and India as examples of forward-thinking vision in action. “Where is our equivalent vision, as a nation?” asked Owens, a U.S. citizen who leads Nortel, which is headquarted in Canada (Brampton, Ontario).

Gallagher, who at the National Telecommunications and Information Association is the Bush administration’s point man on matters telecom, took issue with Owens’ claims and similar charges leveled by some other speakers at this telecom-policy event (many of who cited the U.S. standings in worldwide broadband deployment figures as part of their criticisms).

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