U.S. House Gets Moving on "Innovation Agenda"
Encouraging signs are coming from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has announced her intention to move forward on a set of programs called the "Innovation Agenda." According to Speaker Pelosi's office:
The talent, intellect, and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people that made this nation the leader is being seriously challenged by other countries. Americans must continue to innovate in order to create new thriving industries that will produce millions of good jobs here at home and a better future for the next generation.
One of the pillars of the "Innovation Agenda," according to the Speaker, is increasing access to affordable high-speed Internet connections. Again, from the Speaker’s office:
Just as railroads and highways did in the past, broadband and mobile communications will dramatically increase the productivity and efficiency of our economy in the future and bring more Americans into an online global community and marketplace.
The plan lays out several specific features, including better data collection and mapping of Internet penetration by the FCC, grants to communities to create more Internet connectivity, and more initiatives by the federal Rural Utilities Service. All of these would be positive steps towards a truly universal high-speed Internet infrastructure.
Rep. George Miller of California announced a new package of bills on Tuesday that would mark the opening phase of the Innovation Agenda. Rep. Miller said:
"Our legislation this week represents the first step in a continuing effort to promote innovation and competitiveness. This work will go on in the coming months in many committees in the Congress. Some of them are represented here today."
The initial bills that will be sent to the floor focus on education and don't yet address the full scope of the challenge of deploying high-speed Internet around the country. Rep. Miller has said that this is only a first step, but it's important to let your legislators know that our communications infrastructure must be a priority. In this interconnected world, high-speed Internet access is a requirement, not a luxury. It's crucial to building an innovative economy.
CWA urges the FTC and the DOJ to take into account in merger review guidelines the role of collective bargaining in counterbalancing employer market power