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Still Nothing But Broadband Blather From Politicians

Obviously, President Bush thinks enough of the future of broadband to include the topic in his recent campaign speeches. You just wish he'd use some of his campaign's embarrassment of riches to hire somebody with some smarts about the subject, instead of making meaningless proclamations like "no taxes on broadband."

Sure, the line sounds great. But it's essentially meaningless, because taxes aren't what make telecom services expensive. What's to blame is the country's outmoded, complex and confusing array of telecom regulations, which are being enforced by a some intriguing characters at the FCC.

If the President wanted to really do something bold, he'd order a crackdown on the arbitrary imposition of extra fees on telecom bills, which carriers often try to pass off as a tax, when it's not. Or, he could step in and appoint a new FCC chairman with an actual plan to reorganize the scrambled telecom regulatory structure

, instead of keeping the current chair, who can't even get agreement from commission members in his own party.

Sure, the administration's got bigger things to worry about -- and readers agree, since an overwhelming number of replies to last week's online poll cited the war in Iraq or jobs and the economy as their most-important issues. But if the President -- or John Kerry -- is going to take the time to talk about broadband, the least we can expect is some intelligent conversation about the subject. To offer up "no new taxes" is just short of an insult, and the voting public doesn't need any more of those these days.