Democrats, GOP slam each other's broadband plans

The Internet and broadband communications played starring roles in the platforms released by the Democrats and Republicans at their respective national conventions, and the differences between the two political parties are, not surprisingly, stark.

Republicans last week assailed the administration's support of net neutrality, which tries to "micromanage telecom as if it were a railroad network," while this week the Democrats announced that President Barack Obama's administration has "led the world" in defending Internet freedom.

"President Obama is strongly committed to protecting an open Internet that fosters investment, innovation, creativity, consumer choice and free speech, unfettered by censorship or undue violations of privacy," said the Democratic platform, which was released at the start of its convention in Charlotte, N.C.

While the Republican platform, released during its convention in Tampa, Fla., sought to reduce regulations for broadband providers, the Democratic platform skips that topic. The GOP said the Obama administration, "inherited from the previous Republican Administration 95 percent coverage of the nation with broadband" and "will leave office with no progress toward the goal of universal coverage--after spending $7.2 billion more."

The Democratic platform countered by stating, "President Obama has committed to ensuring that 98 percent of the country has access to high-speed wireless broadband Internet access. We are finding innovative ways to free up wireless spectrum and are building a state-of-the-art nationwide, interoperable, public safety network."

Republicans, on the other hand, demanded an "inventory of federal agency spectrum to determine the surplus that could be auctioned." The GOP platform also accused the Obama administration of having been "frozen in the past," because it has failed to conduct any spectrum auctions or offer any incentives for investment.

There is one notable Internet-related issue upon which Republicans and Democrats agree, and that is support for the current method of Internet governance and resistance to any international or intergovernmental control of the Internet.

Computerworld noted those positions apparently reflect expectations that nations such as Russia, China, Egypt and Iran intend to seek global regulation of the Internet through the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union, which is set to hear their proposals at a meeting in December.

The Democratic platform also touted Obama's support for cybersecurity legislation, though critics have raised concerns about privacy and digital rights issues that would be impacted by certain cybersecurity bills that have been debated recently in Congress, said Computerworld.

For more:
- see the Republican Party's national platform
- see the Democratic Party's national platform
- see this Computerworld article

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Walking the walk on Internet regulation
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