Last updated: January 16, 2009 - 10:20am
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday proposed a combined $26 billion to promote high-speed Internet in underserved areas and for expansion of efforts to computerize health records. It also proposed $650 million to continue the digital television (DTV) coupon program for the transition to DTV, according to a summary of the economic stimulus legislation released by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. The draft bill calls for $6 billion in grants for wireless and broadband in rural and hard-to-serve areas, and $20 billion to boost computerization of health records aimed at cutting costs and medical errors. Several analysts said telecommunications equipment makers may have the most to gain, citing Adtran, Alcatel Lucent Cisco Systems, among others. The Senate is working on its own version of a package. The public interest group Free Press, which had suggested a $44 billion in broadband investment called for strict accountability in how the money is spent. "Broadband as economic recovery should be "build-out" not bail-out," said Derek Turner, research director at the group.
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