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Although industries that produce information technology represent only eight percent of all enterprises in our economy, they produce 29 percent of U.S. exports, generate some of the best and highest paying new jobs in our nation, and strongly contribute to our productivity growth. Looking forward, we must foster incentives to ensure continued growth in innovation and new technologies. We must invest in basic research, ensure that the intellectual property of innovators is secure at home and abroad, as well as invest in the skills and abilities of all our workers. One innovation that holds significant promise for increased U.S. productivity is the high-speed Internet, also known as broadband.
Already, the President has:
Encouraged Broadband Development and Deployment. As Vice President Cheney stated in February 2002, the Administration is "committed to keeping America the worlds leader in developing new broadband technology and applications." To achieve this goal the President has:
Reformed Education. President Bush proposed and Congress passed sweeping education reforms that introduced measurement and accountability into the public education system.
Improved Math and Science Education. President Bush signed into law legislation that provides $160 million in 2002 for a new math and science partnership program. These funds are a down payment on an ambitious, five-year $1 billion initiative. This program will link elementary and secondary schools with technology-savvy colleges and universities, strengthening math and science teaching and education at all levels.
Strengthened Corporate Research and Development. The Administration has proposed broadening access to the research and experimentation tax credit to make it easier for companies to deduct many costs associated with developing new technologies and drugs. This reform will take effect by mid-2002, and the Administration continues to strongly support making the tax credit permanent.
Strengthened Federal and University Research and Development. To encourage increased innovation, President Bush helped push federal R&D funding over $100 billion for the first time in history. The President signed into law funding increases for science and technology at the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Interior, Commerce and Transportation.
Pursued Pro-Growth Telecommunications Policies. The Administration is working closely with industry and state and local governments to facilitate the development and deployment of new information technologies and services. On October 24, 2001, the Administration supported successful efforts to lift the wireless spectrum ownership limits, which constrained the wireless industrys ability to provide quality service.
Launched the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. On December 12, 2001 the President held the first meeting of PCAST. PCASTs membership includes John Marburger (Presidents Science Advisor and co-chairman of PCAST), Floyd Kvamme (PCAST co-chairman, partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers), Gordon Moore (founder, Intel), Michael Dell (founder, CEO, Dell Computer) and Charles Vest (President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), among others. PCAST has been charged with making recommendations to the President in three critical areas in addition to broadband:
- Signed into law an economic security package that will speed depreciation schedules. Deploying the advanced telecommunications equipment and technologies needed for the high-speed Internet is capital intensive. Companies are more likely to make these important investments if they can depreciate the capital costs associated with broadband rollout over a shorter time period.
- Worked with Congress to pass an extension of the moratorium on Internet access taxes, which will help keep Internet access, including broadband access, affordable. Consumer demand for broadband is very price sensitive. Precluding new access fees on broadband services helps reduce the cost of both the Internet and high-speed data services.
- Directed the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to review and make recommendations on how to facilitate broadband deployment, focusing on issues related to consumer demand. PCAST is the Presidents private sector science and technology advisory panel. The Council consists of esteemed members of the academic and business community. PCAST is scheduled to make its broadband recommendations to the President this fall.
- Promoted research and development. The President signed into law the largest federal R&D budget in history and proposed broadening and making permanent the research and experimentation tax credit. Federal research and development, including programs such as the $1.9 billion Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) initiative, help lay the foundation for advances in broadband technologies. Equally important is private sector investment in research. The R&E tax credit promotes private sector investment in research on advanced technologies such as broadband.