Feb 12, 2009 | 3
Senate and House negotiators reportedly stripped out billions of dollars in tax cuts for big telcos, including Verizon Communications, Inc., and AT&T, from the compromise $789-billion stimulus package that were included in the Senate version to spur expansion of broadband coverage into rural areas.
The Senate money measure had called for 10 percent tax credits for companies that increased Internet service in pockets where it exists but is scarce and a 20 percent tax breaks for building new networks in currently unserved parts of the country. The House bill did not contain any plan for tax credits.
Feb 6, 2009
The Senate this week okayed an amendment to the massive stimulus package to fork over an extra $6.5 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bringing funding for the fed's biomedical research arm to $10 billion over two years.
"Including funding for the NIH in the bill will provide needed economic stimulus, enable long-term economic growth and save lives," co-sponsor Sen. Arlen Specter (R–Pa.) said in a statement. "The National Institutes of Health have been starved recently. This increase in funding will enable the [NIH] to continue to produce remarkable achievements in scientific advances."
According to Specter, the monies would be divvied up among NIH agencies in amounts proportional to their fiscal year 2008 funding. He said that economists estimate that the additional funds could lead to 70,000 new jobs in the health industry over two years.
Jan 27, 2009
Despite a year of warnings that television was going digital, consumers are not ready to make the transition, according to President Barack Obama and telecom officials. So the Democratic-controlled Senate unanimously passed a measure yesterday that would push back the switch from analog to digital TV broadcasts to June 12, giving the 6.5 million U.S. households (according to The Nielsen Company) unable to receive digital TV programming a chance to buy converter boxes. The House is set to approve the legislation today.
Among the reasons for the delay: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) ran out of $40 coupons it was distributing to offset the $50-to-$70 cost of buying a device to convert traditional analogue TVs to digital. Nearly 2.6 million viewers had to be put on a waiting list for the coupons, the Associated Press reports. People with digital TVs, who subscribe to digital cable service or have satellite dishes don't have to worry about getting a converter or taking any other steps when the change takes effect.
Jan 17, 2009 | 7
Democratic lawmakers are calling for $80 billion in federal funds to be set aside to beef up the nation's Internet services, develop renewable energy sources and computerize health care records.
The investment would be part of the $825 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 [pdf] (which the House is expected to vote on the week of Jan. 26). The money spent on new technology is expected to "increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health" via $54 billion to bolster production of energy from renewable sources, $20 billion to computerize health care records and $6 billion to provide broadband Internet to regions where it's lacking.
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