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American companies want plan to expand broadband access

Sapo opens laboratory at the University of Aveiro

United in the Open Internet Coalition, 54 companies connected to the Internet area sent a letter to the North American Congress this week asking for the creation of measures that ensure universal access, at lower prices, of citizens to broadband. The coalition, which includes companies such as Amazon, Google, eBay and Skype, intends to develop a set of legislation that will help speed up the spread of broadband among Americans in the face of the drop in the United States’ position in the index of more connected nations of the OECD.

Unlike in Europe, where the European Commission has developed a series of initiatives to increase the connection of citizens and businesses to the Internet, in the United States the principle is to let the market work, but it seems that this policy is not being effective for guarantee the growth of this market.

In the last year, the United States fell to 15th place in the list of countries with the highest rate of broadband access per inhabitant, as measured by the OECD, and the lack of policies to promote greater connection worries companies.

The letter now sent to Congress is only the first in a series of initiatives that the coalition wants to develop and which also include defending the neutrality of the Internet and ensuring better quality through competition.

According to analyzes by some of the coalition members, the fact that cable and DSL operators control 96 percent of broadband subscribers means that prices are higher for lower bandwidth than in some countries.

In 2004 President Bush set a goal of making universal broadband available until 2007, but according to coalition members, little or nothing has been done to achieve this goal that companies now want to recover.

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