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The election recount spotlight is on Florida, with three hotly contested races. Also on the Monday rundown: Can women sustain their record election gains? And a bill in Congress would help fund preservation of historic sites.

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Depressed by Dialup, Groups Call for Action on Broadband, Net Neutrality

February 15, 2010

DENVER - Depressed by dial-up, hundreds of organizations across the country have declared today a day of action, to call attention to the need for affordable, high-speed access to an open Internet in communities of all sizes. Amalia Deloney, coordinator for the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-net), says many areas of Colorado have outgrown their old dial-up modems, but don't yet have affordable broadband options.

"There's people in communities of color, low-income communities, rural areas, struggling suburban areas, that understand the importance of Internet; that it's no longer a luxury, it's a necessity."

Deloney says the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could help bridge the digital divide between communities if its new National Broadband Plan extends the existing Universal Service Fund rules and resources to broadband and mobile devices. The plan will be presented to Congress next month. Local groups in Colorado are asking regulators and lawmakers to take steps to increase broadband access and ensure network neutrality.

Deloney says an open Internet with guaranteed network neutrality is essential to ensure that every idea has a chance to be communicated.

"You know, that's important, whether it's about small business development; whether it's artists being able to exchange music online; whether it's immigrant communities who need to be able to access Skype to be able to have conversations with communities back in their countries of origin."

Making "net neutrality" the rule would prevent Internet providers from blocking or slowing down certain kinds of online content in favor of others. Providers such as Comcast argue that they should have the power to operate their networks however they see fit, but the FCC claims it has broad jurisdiction over many forms of interstate communication, including the Internet.

More information is at pitch.pe/44969

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO