Issue Position: Technology
Technology has the power to transform our lives -- the way we live, learn, work, and play. As Montanans, we cherish our independence. And it's because we are a rural state that we need to take advantage and explore new technologies that will make it easier for us to communicate or do business around the state and the country.
New communications technologies are bringing economic opportunities to our state, and I'm working to develop a system to ensure that we can take advantage of these opportunities. As Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I have the rare opportunity to craft the U.S. tax code to provide incentives for technological innovation and development. I'm committed to using my influence to narrow the digital divide and bring high-paying technology jobs to our state.
Technology Priorities for the 109th Congress
Internet tax. I oppose taxing Internet access. As top Democrat of the Senate Finance Committee I supported a recently enacted law preventing federal or state governments from imposing new taxes on Internet access. It will protect the Internet from burdensome taxes for the next three years, ensuring that this engine of economic growth can continue to run smoothly.
Broadband. High-speed Internet access is a vital element of the new economy. Montana communities need high-speed Internet access to continue to grow their economies and improve the quality of life of all Montanans. I'm working to ensure that Montanans are connected. In the last Congress I helped introduce the Broadband Expensing Act, to allow broadband providers to take tax deductions for deploying broadband in rural and urban areas. I plan to develop ways to lower the cost for broadband providers in rural areas to improve access to Montanans.
Universal Service Fund. Ensuring all Americans have affordable access to telecommunications services -- especially phone service -- is the purpose of the Universal Service Fund. It also supports the E-Rate program, which helps our schools and libraries get connected. USF is a successful program, but we must make modifications to ensure that it provides access for our rural schools and hospitals for many, many years to come. Congress will be considering changes to the USF program, and I will work to ensure any changes are good for Montanans' low-cost access to telecommunication services.
Wireless Services. Traveling Montana, it's easy to get frustrated when our cell phones don't work. Too often cell calls are dropped or, even worse, you simply cannot get service - that's especially worrisome during an emergency. As Congress looks at ways to reform the use of our nation's airwaves, I'll to work to make it easier for wireless providers to grow and expand their service in Montana.