Lawmakers Ponder Internet Expansion Tax Credits

While we're hardly in favor of the Senate's approval of a four month delay on the has-to-happen-sometime digital TV transition, this is one political agenda we can definitely stand behind. Reportedly, United States lawmakers are mulling a plan that would provide tax credits for Internet and wireless companies as part of a "broad stimulus package to boost the ailing economy."

Specifically, AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile and Sprint were named as examples, though any firm with the willingness and ability to "build out high-speed Internet in rural and underserved areas" could soon see a 10 percent tax credit. For the overachievers out there, a remarkable 20 percent break would be doled out to outfits also willing to "exceed current speeds" in those deployments.

It'll be Senator John Rockefeller offering the amendment to the $825 billion economic package, which will supposedly address industry demands for tax credits rather than grant money. Analyst Jessica Zufolo of Medley Advisors seemed pretty high on the whole ordeal when asked for her opinion, noting that "the wireless industry has never before been the subject of such generous tax treatment from the Senate Finance Committee for the deployment of mobile data service." Of course, there still remains the question of whether the panel will bundle in the so-called "open access provisions" -- which require that providers not discriminate based on applications or content -- but we're certain we'll learn of the minutiae soon enough.

Is Internet for all Americans closer than we previously imagined? Here's hoping for the answer to be a resounding "yes."